Nanoparticle-assisted drug delivery

Nanoparticle-assisted drug delivery has been emerging as an active research area. Understanding and controlling the interaction of the coated-nanoparticles (NPs) with cell membranes is key to the development of the efficient drug delivery technologies and to the management of nanoparticle-related health and safety issues. Cellular uptake of nanoparticles coated with mixed hydrophilic/hydrophobic polymer ligands is known to be strongly influenced by the polymer pattern on the NP surface and remains open for further exploration.

cell particle design
Schematic representation of the dissipative particle dynamics model.

To unravel the physical mechanism behind this intriguing phenomenon, here we perform dissipative particle dynamics simulations to analyze the forces and efficacy time as the copolymer-coated NPs pass through the lipid bilayer so as to provide better design of coated-NPs for future drug delivery applications. Four characteristic copolymer ligands are constructed to perform the simulations: hydrophilic-hydrophobic (AB), hydrophobic-hydrophilic (BA), and hydrophobic-hydrophilic-hydrophobic-hydrophilic (BABA), and a random pattern with hydrophilic and hydrophobic beads. We mainly study the critical force and potential of mean force required for entering inside the lipid bilayer and penetration force to pass all the way through the cell membrane as well as the translocation time for these patterned NPs across the bilayer. Through copolymer ligand pattern designing, we find a suitable nanoparticle candidate with a specific polymer coating pattern for drug delivery. These findings provide useful guidelines for the molecular design of patterned NPs for controllable cell penetrability and help establish qualitative rules for the organization and optimization of copolymers ligands for desired drug delivery.

np passes throug cell membrane
Dynamic process of four different patterned NPs passing through the cell membrane.


L. Zhang and X. Wang, "Coarse-grained Modeling of Vesicle Responses to Active Rotational Nanoparticles", Nanoscale, 7: 13458-13467, 2015.

L. Zhang and X. Wang, "Designing Nanoparticle Translocation through Cell Membranes by Varying Amphiphilic Polymer Coatings", Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 119: 3786-3794, 2015.


Dr. Jin Xie (UGA Department of Chemistry)