Enhancing the efficacy of Ara-C through conjugation with PAMAM dendrimer and linear PEG: A comparative study

Ugir Hossain Sk, Siva P. Kambhampati, Manoj K. Mishra, Wojciech G. Lesniak, Fan Zhang, Rangaramanujam M. Kannan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1β-d-Arabinofuranosylcytosine (Cytarabine, Ara-C) is a key drug in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. Ara-C has a number of limitations such as a rapid deactivation by cytidine deaminase leading to the formation of a biologically inactive metabolite, Ara-U (1β-d-arabinofuranosyluracil), a low lipophilicity, and fast clearance from the body. To address these problems, we developed a conjugate in which hydroxyl-terminated PAMAM dendrimer, G4-OH ["D"] and PEG were used as carriers for the drug (Ara-C). The conjugates were synthesized using an efficient multistep protection/deprotection method resulting in the formation of a covalent bond between the primary hydroxyl group of Ara-C and dendrimer/PEG. The structure, physicochemical properties, and drug release kinetics were characterized extensively. 1H NMR and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry suggested covalent attachment of 10 Ara-C molecules to the dendrimer. The release profile of Ara-C in human plasma and in PBS buffer (pH 7.4) showed that the conjugates released the drug over 14 days in PBS, with the release sped up in plasma. In PBS, while most of the drug is released from PEG-Ara-C, the dendrimer continues to release the drug in a sustained fashion. The results also suggested that the formation of the inactive form of Ara-C (Ara-U) was delayed upon conjugation of Ara-C to the polymers. The inhibition of cancer growth by the dendrimer-Ara-C and PEG-Ara-C conjugates was evaluated in A549 human adenocarcinoma epithelial cells. Both dendrimer- and PEG-Ara-C conjugates were 4-fold more effective in inhibition of A549 cells compared to free Ara-C after 72 h of treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-810
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 11 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

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