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Cyclic Peptide Containing Hydrophobic and Positively Charged Residues as a Drug Delivery System for Curcumin

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Due to the low water solubility and hydrophobic nature of curcumin, an efficient cellular uptake is critical for its biological activity. We have previously developed a number of homochiral L-cyclic peptides containing arginine and tryptophan as cell-penetrating peptides. Among the synthesized peptides, [WR]5 containing five arginine and five tryptophan residues was found to be the most efficient one. Here, we have compared the application of [WR]5 to improve the intracellular uptake of curcumin by using both peptide-curcumin conjugate and physical mixture (peptide + curcumin) strategies. Flow cytometry results showed that the intracellular uptake of curcumin (50 μM) was enhanced through the physical mixing with [WR]5 by 5.7 folds compared to that of curcumin alone in human leukemia (CCRFCEM) cells after 3 h. When [WR]5 was conjugated with curcumin, the intracellular uptake was enhanced by 4 fold. These data suggest that the physical mixture can work more efficiently in enhancing the cellular delivery of curcumin. Furthermore, the antiproliferative activity of curcumin was enhanced by 20% and ∼13% through the physical mixture and the conjugate, respectively, in CCRF-CEM cells after 72 h.
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Keywords: Antiproliferative activity; curcumin; cyclic peptides; drug delivery systems

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • The aim of Current Drug Delivery is to publish peer-reviewed articles, short communications, short and in-depth reviews in the rapidly developing field of drug delivery. Modern drug research aims to build in delivery properties of a drug at the design phase, however in many cases this ideal cannot be met and the development of delivery systems becomes as important as the development as the drugs themselves.

    The journal aims to cover the latest outstanding developments in drug and vaccine delivery employing physical, physico-chemical and chemical methods. The drugs include a wide range of bioactive compounds from simple pharmaceuticals to peptides, proteins, nucleotides, nucleosides and sugars. The journal will also report progress in the fields of transport routes and mechanisms including efflux proteins and multi-drug resistance.

    The journal is essential for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug design, development and delivery.
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