Evaluation of the Penetration Process of Fluorescent Collagenase Nanocapsules in a 3D Collagen Gel

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One of the major limitations of nanomedicine is the scarce penetration of nanoparticles in tumoral tissues. These constrains have been tried to be solved by different strategies, such as the employ of polyethyleneglycol (PEG) to avoid the opsonization or reducing the extracellular matrix (ECM) density. Our research group has developed some strategies to overcome these limitations such as the employ of pH-sensitive collagenase nanocapsules for the digestion of the collagen-rich extracellular matrix present in most of tumoral tissues. However, a deeper understanding of physicochemical kinetics involved in the nanocapsules degradation process is needed to understand the nanocapsule framework degradation process produced during the penetration in the tissue. For this, in this work it has been employed a double-fluorescent labelling strategy of the polymeric enzyme nanocapsule as a crucial chemical tool which allowed the analysis of nanocapsules and free collagenase during the diffusion process throughout a tumour-like collagen matrix. This extrinsic label strategy provides far greater advantages for observing biological processes. For the detection of enzyme, collagenase has been labelled with fluorescein Isothiocyanate (FITC), whereas the nanocapsule surface was labelled with rhodamine Isothiocyanate (RITC). Thus, it has been possible to monitor the hydrolysis of nanocapsules and their diffusion throughout a thick 3D Collagen gel during the time, obtaining a detailed temporal evaluation of the pH-sensitive collagenase nanocapsule behaviour. These collagenase nanocapsules displayed a high enzymatic activity in low concentrations at acidic pH, and their efficiency to penetrate into tissue models pave the way to a wide range of possible nanomedical applications, especially in cancer therapy.
RESEARCHER ID K-8193-2014 (Alejandro Baeza) ORCID 0000-0002-9042-8865 (Alejandro Baeza) RESEARCHER ID M-3378-2014 (María Vallet Regí) ORCID 0000-0002-6104-4889 (María Vallet Regí)
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