Pharmaceutical Research

, Volume 23, Issue 11, pp 2638–2645 | Cite as

Intracellular Delivery of Saquinavir in Biodegradable Polymeric Nanoparticles for HIV/AIDS

Research Paper



This study aims at developing poly(ethylene oxide)-modified poly(epsilon-caprolactone) (PEO-PCL) nanoparticulate system as an intracellular delivery vehicle for saquinavir, an anti-HIV protease inhibitor.

Materials and Methods

Saquinavir-loaded PEO-PCL nanoparticles were prepared by a solvent displacement process. The formed nanoparticles were characterized for size, surface charge, and surface presence of PEO chains. Cellular uptake and distribution of the nanoparticle was examined in THP-1 human monocyte/macrophage (Mo/Mac) cell line. Intracellular saquinavir concentrations were measured as a function of dose and duration of incubation.


The PEO-PCL nanoparticles had a smooth surface and spherical shape and showed a relatively uniform size distribution with a mean particle diameter of approximately 200 nm. The surface presence of PEO chains was confirmed by an increase in the –C–O–(ether) signature of the C1s spectra in electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis. Rapid cellular uptake of rhodamine-123 encapsulated PEO-PCL nanoparticles was observed in THP-1 cells. Intracellular saquinavir concentrations when administered in the nanoparticle formulation were significantly higher than from aqueous solution.


This study shows that PEO-PCL nanoparticles provide a versatile platform for encapsulation of saquinavir and subsequent intracellular delivery in Mo/Mac cells.

Key words

intracellular delivery nanoparticles poly(ethylene oxide)-modified poly(epsilon-caprolactone) saquivanir THP-1 monocytes/macrophages 



The authors thank Professor Robert Campbell for the access to particle size and zeta potential instrument and Ms. Sushma Kommareddy for the SEM analysis. Additionally, Dr. Lara Gamble’s help with the ESCA investigations at the NESAC/BIO is gratefully acknowledged. NESAC/BIO is supported by the National Institutes of Health grant EB-002027.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of PharmacyNortheastern University BostonUSA

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