Cancer continues to pose health problems for people all over the world. Nanoparticles (NPs) have emerged as a promising platform for effective cancer chemotherapy. NPs formed by the assembly of proteins and chitosan (CH) through noncovalent interactions are attracting a great deal of interest. However, the poor water solubility of CH and low stability of this kind of NP limit its practical application. Herein, the formation of reduced bovine serum albumin (rBSA) and glycol chitosan (GC) nanoparticles (rBG-NPs) stabilized by hydrophobic interactions and disulfide bonds was demonstrated for paclitaxel (PTX) delivery. The effects of the rBSA:GC mass ratio and pH on the particle size, polydispersity index (PDI), number of particles, and surface charge were evaluated. The formation mechanism and stability of the NPs were determined by compositional analysis and dynamic light scattering. Hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions were the driving forces for the formation of the rBG-NPs, and the NPs were stable under physiological conditions. PTX was successfully encapsulated into rBG-NPs with a high encapsulation efficiency (90%). PTX-loaded rBG-NPs had a particle size of 400 nm with a low PDI (0.2) and positive charge. rBG-NPs could be internalized by HeLa cells, possibly via endocytosis. An in vitro cytotoxicity study revealed that PTX-loaded rBG-NPs had anticancer activity that was lower than that of a Taxol-like formulation at 24 h but had similar activity at 48 h, possibly because of the slow release of PTX into the cells. Our study suggests that rBG-NPs could be used as a potential nanocarrier for hydrophobic drugs.
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