Self-assembling peptides have very recently emerged as a new class of drug vehicles, as
they hold unique advantages such as good biocompatibility, design flexibility, and controllable
nanotructure. In this work, we report a self-assembling peptide containing D-amino acids (Nap-
GDFDFDYGRGD) as the carrier of anticancer drug tetrandrine. Tetrandrine is a bis-benzylisoquinoline
alkaloid isolated from the root of Hang-Fang-Chi (Stephania tetrandra S. Moore). The D-peptides
were employed in this study as they have shown stronger resistance against proteases than their Lcounterpart
with natural L-amino acids. The Nap-GDFDFDYGRGD peptides can self-assemble into
nanofibers, which are able to efficiently encapsulate tetrandrine. The drug-loaded nanofibers are capable of sustained
release of tetrandrine and being internalized by the LoVo cancer cells. The cytotoxicity studies indicate that the
tetrandrine-loaded nanofibers possess similar cytotoxicity to free tetrandrine against LoVo cancer cells and the Nap-
GDFDFDYGRGD nanofibers can be used as a safe vehicle.
Keywords: D-Amino acid, drug carrier, drug delivery, peptide, self-assembly, tetrandrine.
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