Functionalization of carboxylated lignin nanoparticles for targeted and pH-responsive delivery of anticancer drugs

Patrícia Figueiredo*, Cláudio Ferro, Marianna Kemell, Zehua Liu, Alexandros Kiriazis, Kalle Lintinen, Helena F. Florindo, Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma, Jouni Hirvonen, Mauri A. Kostiainen, Hélder A. Santos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To carboxylate kraft lignin toward the functionalization of carboxylated lignin nanoparticles (CLNPs) with a block copolymer made of PEG, poly(histidine) and a cell-penetrating peptide and then evaluate the chemotherapeutic potential of the innovative nanoparticles. Materials & methods: The produced nanoparticles were characterized and evaluated in vitro for stability and biocompatibility and the drug release profiles and antiproliferative effect were also assessed. Results: The prepared CLNPs showed spherical shape and good size distribution, good stability in physiological media and low cytotoxicity in all the tested cell lines. A poorly water-soluble cytotoxic agent was successfully loaded into the CLNPs, improving its release profiles in a pH-sensitive manner and showing an enhanced antiproliferative effect in the different cancer cells compared with a normal endothelial cell line. Conclusion: The resulting CLNPs are promising candidates for anticancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2581-2596
Number of pages16
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • antiproliferative effect
  • benzazulene
  • carboxylated lignin nanoparticles
  • drug loading
  • pH-responsive release
  • targeting functionalization

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