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Journal of Drug Delivery
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 143524, 13 pages
Research Article

Glucan Particles for Macrophage Targeted Delivery of Nanoparticles

Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 373 Plantation Street, Worcester, MA 01605, USA

Received 1 June 2011; Revised 20 July 2011; Accepted 20 July 2011

Academic Editor: Rassoul Dinarvand

Copyright © 2012 Ernesto R. Soto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Glucan particles (GPs) are hollow, porous 2–4 μm microspheres derived from the cell walls of Baker's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). The 1,3-β-glucan outer shell provides for receptor-mediated uptake by phagocytic cells expressing β-glucan receptors. GPs have been used for macrophage-targeted delivery of soluble payloads (DNA, siRNA, protein, and small molecules) encapsulated inside the hollow GPs via core polyplex and layer-by-layer (LbL) synthetic strategies. In this communication, we report the incorporation of nanoparticles as cores inside GPs (GP-NP) or electrostatically bound to the surface of chemically derivatized GPs (NP-GP). GP nanoparticle formulations benefit from the drug encapsulation properties of NPs and the macrophage-targeting properties of GPs. GP nanoparticle formulations were synthesized using fluorescent anionic polystyrene nanoparticles allowing visualization and quantitation of NP binding and encapsulation. Mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) containing the chemotherapeutic doxorubicin (Dox) were bound to cationic GPs. Dox-MSN-GPs efficiently delivered Dox into GP phagocytic cells resulting in enhanced Dox-mediated growth arrest.