Nanoencapsulation is a rapidly expanding technology to enclose cargo into inert material at the nanoscale size, which protects cargo from degradation, improves bioavailability and allows for controlled release. Encapsulation of drugs into functional nanocarriers enhances their specificity, targeting ability, efficiency, and effectiveness. Functionality may come from cell targeting biomolecules that direct nanocarriers to a specific cell or tissue. Delivery is usually mediated by diffusion and erosion mechanisms, but in some cases, this is not sufficient to reach the expected therapeutic effects. This work reports on the development of a new photoresponsive polymeric nanocarrier (PNc)-based nanobioconjugate (NBc) for specific photo-delivery of cargo into target cells. We readily synthesized the PNcs by modification of chitosan with ultraviolet (UV)-photosensitive azobenzene molecules, with Nile red and dofetilide as cargo models to prove the encapsulation/release concept. The PNcs were further functionalized with the cardiac targeting transmembrane peptide and efficiently internalized into cardiomyocytes, as a cell line model. Intracellular cargo-release was dramatically accelerated upon a very short UV-light irradiation time. Delivering cargo in a time-space controlled fashion by means of NBcs is a promising strategy to increase the intracellular cargo concentration, to decrease dose and cargo side effects, thereby improving the effectiveness of a therapeutic regime.
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