bims-drudre Biomed News
on Targeted drug delivery and programmed release mechanisms
Issue of 2022‒04‒17
eleven papers selected by
Ceren Kimna
Technical University of Munich

  1. ACS Nano. 2022 Apr 15.
      Despite considerable advancements in cell membrane-camouflaged nanocarriers to leverage natural cell functions, artificial nanocarriers that can accurately mimic both the biological and physical properties of cells are urgently needed. Herein, inspired by the important effect of the stiffness and deformability of natural red blood cells (RBCs) on their life span and flowing through narrow vessels, we report the construction of RBC membrane-camouflaged nanocarriers that can mimic RBCs at different life stages and study how the deformability of RBC-derived nanocarriers affects their biological behaviors. RBC membrane-coated elastic poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate hydrogel nanoparticles (RBC-ENPs) simulating dynamic RBCs exhibited high immunocompatibility with minimum immunoglobulin adsorption in the surface protein corona, resulting in reduced opsonization in macrophages and ultralong circulation. Furthermore, RBC-ENPs can deform like RBCs and achieve excellent diffusion in tumor extracellular matrix, leading to improved multicellular spheroid penetration and tumor tissue accumulation. In mouse cancer models, doxorubicin-loaded RBC-ENPs demonstrated superior antitumor efficacy to the first-line chemotherapeutic drug PEGylated doxorubicin liposomes. Our work highlights that tuning the physical properties of cell membrane-derived nanocarriers may offer an alternative approach for the bionic design of nanomedicines in the future.
    Keywords:  RBC-derived nanocarriers; deformability; drug delivery; long circulation; tumor penetration
  2. ACS Nano. 2022 Apr 12.
      Nanoparticles need to navigate a complex microenvironment to target cells in solid tumors after extravasation. Diffusion is currently the accepted primary mechanism for nanoparticle distribution in tumors. However, the extracellular matrix can limit nanoparticle diffusion. Here, we identified tumor-associated macrophages as another key player in transporting and redistributing nanoparticles in the tumor microenvironment. We found tumor-associated macrophages actively migrate toward nanoparticles extravasated from the vessels, engulfing and redistributing them in the tumor stroma. The macrophages can carry the nanoparticles 2-5 times deeper in the tumor than passive diffusion. The amount of nanoparticles transported by the tumor-associated macrophages is size-dependent. Understanding the nanoparticle behavior after extravasation will provide strategies to engineer them to navigate the microenvironment for improved intratumoral targeting and therapeutic effectiveness.
    Keywords:  cancer; intravital imaging; nanoparticle delivery; nanoparticles; tumor cell migration; tumor-associated macrophage
  3. Adv Sci (Weinh). 2022 Apr 11. e2106026
      Engineered living materials (ELMs) are a new class of materials in which living organism incorporated into diffusive matrices uptake a fundamental role in material's composition and function. Understanding how the spatial confinement in 3D can regulate the behavior of the embedded cells is crucial to design and predict ELM's function, minimize their environmental impact and facilitate their translation into applied materials. This study investigates the growth and metabolic activity of bacteria within an associative hydrogel network (Pluronic-based) with mechanical properties that can be tuned by introducing a variable degree of acrylate crosslinks. Individual bacteria distributed in the hydrogel matrix at low density form functional colonies whose size is controlled by the extent of permanent crosslinks. With increasing stiffness and elastic response to deformation of the matrix, a decrease in colony volumes and an increase in their sphericity are observed. Protein production follows a different pattern with higher production yields occurring in networks with intermediate permanent crosslinking degrees. These results demonstrate that matrix design can be used to control and regulate the composition and function of ELMs containing microorganisms. Interestingly, design parameters for matrices to regulate bacteria behavior show similarities to those elucidated for 3D culture of mammalian cells.
    Keywords:  bacterial hydrogel; bacterial-materials interactions; cell encapsulation; dynamic hydrogel; engineered living material
  4. Nat Commun. 2022 Apr 14. 13(1): 1996
      Biolistic intracellular delivery of functional macromolecules makes use of dense microparticles which are ballistically fired onto cells with a pressurized gun. While it has been used to transfect plant cells, its application to mammalian cells has met with limited success mainly due to high toxicity. Here we present a more refined nanotechnological approach to biolistic delivery with light-triggered self-assembled nanobombs (NBs) that consist of a photothermal core particle surrounded by smaller nanoprojectiles. Upon irradiation with pulsed laser light, fast heating of the core particle results in vapor bubble formation, which propels the nanoprojectiles through the cell membrane of nearby cells. We show successful transfection of both adherent and non-adherent cells with mRNA and pDNA, outperforming electroporation as the most used physical transfection technology by a factor of 5.5-7.6 in transfection yield. With a throughput of 104-105 cells per second, biolistic delivery with NBs offers scalable and highly efficient transfections of mammalian cells.
  5. Adv Mater. 2022 Apr 13. e2200185
      Self-assembly of nanoparticles (NPs) is a powerful route to construct higher-order structures. However, the programmed self-assembly of NPs into non-close-packed, three-dimensional (3D), shape-morphing nanocilia arrays remains elusive, whereas dynamically actuated nanometer cilia are universal in living systems. Here, we present a programmable self-assembly strategy that can direct magnetic NPs into a highly ordered responsive artificial nanocilia actuator with exquisite nanometer 3D structural arrangements. The self-assembled artificial NP cilia can maintain their structural integrity through the interplay of interparticle interactions. Interestingly, the nanocilia can exhibit a field-responsive actuation motion through "rolling and sliding" between assembled NPs rather than bending of the entire ciliary beam. We demonstrate that oleic acid coated over the NPs acts as a lubricating bearing and enables the rolling/sliding-based actuation of the cilia. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  actuator; cilia; magnetic nanoparticles; nano bearing; self-assembly
  6. Adv Healthc Mater. 2022 Apr 14. e2102574
      Bioengineering close-to-native in vitro models that emulate tumors bioarchitecture and microenvironment is highly appreciable for improving disease modelling toolboxes. Herein, pancreatic cancer living units - so termed cancer-on-a-bead models - were generated. Such user-programmable in vitro platforms exhibit biomimetic multi-compartmentalization and tunable integration of cancer associated stromal elements. These stratified units can be rapidly assembled in-air, exhibit reproducible morphological features, tunable size, and recapitulate spatially resolved tumor-stroma ECM niches. Compartmentalization of pancreatic cancer and stromal cells in well-defined ECM microenvironments stimulated the secretion of key biomolecular effectors including TGF-β and IL-1β, closely emulating the signatures of human pancreatic tumors. Cancer-on-a-bead models also display increased drug resistance to chemotherapeutics when compared to their reductionistic counterparts, reinforcing the importance to differentially model ECM components inclusion and their spatial stratification as observed in vivo. Beyond providing a universal technology that enables spatial modularity in tumor-stroma elements bioengineering, this study provides a scalable, in-air fabrication of ECM-tunable 3D platforms that can be leveraged for recapitulating differential matrix composition occurring in other human neoplasia's. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  3D in vitro tumor models; pancreatic tumor microenvironment; preclinical drug screening; superhydrophobic surfaces
  7. Nanoscale. 2022 Apr 13.
      Gene therapy holds tremendous potential for the treatment of incurable brain diseases including Alzheimer's disease (AD), stroke, glioma, and Parkinson's disease. The main challenge is the lack of effective gene delivery systems traversing the blood-brain barrier (BBB), due to the complex microvessels present in the brain which restrict substances from the circulating blood passing through. Recently, increasing efforts have been made to develop promising gene carriers for brain-related disease therapies. One such development is the self-assembled heavy chain ferritin (HFn) nanoparticles (NPs). HFn NPs have a unique hollow spherical structure that can encapsulate nucleic acid drugs (NADs) and specifically bind to cancer cells and BBB endothelial cells (BBB ECs) via interactions with the transferrin receptor 1 (TfR1) overexpressed on their surfaces, which increases uptake through the BBB. However, the gene-loading capacity of HFn is restricted by its limited interior volume and negatively charged inner surface; therefore, these drawbacks have prompted the demand for strategies to remould the structure of HFn. In this work, we analyzed the three-dimensional (3D) structure of HFn using Chimera software (v 1.14) and developed a class of internally cationic HFn variants (HFn+ NPs) through arginine mutation on the lumenal surface of HFn. These HFn+ NPs presented powerful electrostatic forces in their cavities, and exhibited higher gene encapsulation efficacy than naive HFn. The top-performing candidate, HFn2, effectively delivered siRNA to glioma cells after traversing the BBB and achieved the highest silencing efficacy among HFn+ NPs. Overall, our findings demonstrate that HFn+ NPs obtained by this genetic engineering method provide critical insights into the future development of nucleic acid delivery carriers with BBB-crossing ability.
  8. Mol Cancer. 2022 Apr 11. 21(1): 98
      The tumor microenvironment (TME) is essential for immune escape by tumor cells. It plays essential roles in tumor development and metastasis. The clinical outcomes of tumors are often closely related to individual differences in the patient TME. Therefore, reprogramming TME cells and their intercellular communication is an attractive and promising strategy for cancer therapy. TME cells consist of immune and nonimmune cells. These cells need to be manipulated precisely and safely to improve cancer therapy. Furthermore, it is encouraging that this field has rapidly developed in recent years with the advent and development of gene editing technologies. In this review, we briefly introduce gene editing technologies and systematically summarize their applications in the TME for precision cancer therapy, including the reprogramming of TME cells and their intercellular communication. TME cell reprogramming can regulate cell differentiation, proliferation, and function. Moreover, reprogramming the intercellular communication of TME cells can optimize immune infiltration and the specific recognition of tumor cells by immune cells. Thus, gene editing will pave the way for further breakthroughs in precision cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  Gene editing; Precision cancer therapy; Reprogramming TME cells; Reprogramming cell-cell communication; TME
  9. Anal Chem. 2022 Apr 13.
      Modulating the precise self-assembly of functional biomacromolecules is a critical challenge in biotechnology. Herein, functional biomacromolecule-assembled hierarchical hybrid nanoarchitectures in a spatially controlled fashion are synthesized, achieving the biorecognition behavior and signal amplification in the immunoassay simultaneously. Biomacromolecules with sequential assembly on the scaffold through the biomineralization process show significantly enhanced stability, bioactivity, and utilization efficiency, allowing tuning of their functions by modifying their size and composition. The hierarchically hybrid nanoarchitectures show great potential in construction of ultrasensitive immunoassay platforms, achieving a three order-of-magnitude increase in sensitivity. Notably, the well-designed HRP@Ab2 nanoarchitectures allow for optical immunoassays with a detection range from picogram mL-1 to microgram mL-1 on demand, providing great promise for quantitative analysis of both low-abundance and high-residue targets for biomedical applications.
  10. RSC Adv. 2021 Mar 29. 11(21): 12757-12770
      Micelles self-assembled from small amphiphilic molecules are unstable in biological fluids, and thus are poor drug carriers. In contrast, amphiphilic polymer micelles can encapsulate hydrophobic drugs in their core to greatly enhance their aqueous solubility and extend their retention time in blood circulation owing to their hydrophilic shell. However, the major disadvantages of conventional polymer micelles are the heterogeneity of the amphiphilic polymer structure and premature drug leakage. Thus, herein, to address these shortcomings, disulfide crosslinked micelles composed of a small amphiphilic molecule, di-lipoyl-glycerophosphorylcholine (di-LA-PC), were developed as redox-responsive drug carriers. Specifically, di-LA-PC was synthesized and self-assembled to form crosslinked micelles under catalysis by dithiothreitol. The disulfide crosslinked micelles maintained high stability in a simulated physiological environment, but rapidly disassembled under reductive conditions. Furthermore, paclitaxel (PTX), as a model drug, was encapsulated in the core of the crosslinked micelles with a high loading content of 8.13%. The in vitro release studies indicated that over 80% of PTX was released from the micelles in the reductive environment, whereas less than 20% PTX was released without reduction in the 68 h test. Benefiting from their nanoscale characteristics, the PTX-loaded micelles showed efficient cellular internalization and effectively induced the death of cancer cells, as revealed in the MTT, apoptosis and cell cycle tests. Moreover, pharmacokinetic studies demonstrated that the crosslinked micelles prolonged the circulation of the incorporated PTX in the bloodstream and increased its accumulation in the tumor tissue via the EPR effect. Finally, the PTX-loaded micelles displayed prominent in vivo anti-tumor activity in a 4T1 xenograft tumor model. In summary, the di-LA-PC crosslinked micelle platform possesses excellent stability, high loading capacity and reduction-responsive release profile, which may have applications in the delivery of PTX and other anti-cancer drugs.
  11. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 838884
      MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play crucial roles in regulating the transcriptome and development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Currently, a comprehensive map illustrating how miRNAs regulate transcripts, pathways, immune system differentiation, and their interactions with terminal cells such as fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS), immune-cells, osteoblasts, and osteoclasts are still laking. In this review, we summarize the roles of miRNAs in the susceptibility, pathogenesis, diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and prognosis of RA. Numerous miRNAs are abnormally expressed in cells involved in RA and regulate target genes and pathways, including NF-κB, Fas-FasL, JAK-STAT, and mTOR pathways. We outline how functional genetic variants of miR-499 and miR-146a partly explain susceptibility to RA. By regulating gene expression, miRNAs affect T cell differentiation into diverse cell types, including Th17 and Treg cells, thus constituting promising gene therapy targets to modulate the immune system in RA. We summarize the diagnostic and prognostic potential of blood-circulating and cell-free miRNAs, highlighting the opportunity to combine these miRNAs with antibodies to cyclic citrullinated peptide (ACCP) to allow accurate diagnosis and prognosis, particularly for seronegative patients. Furthermore, we review the evidence implicating miRNAs as promising biomarkers of efficiency and response of, and resistance to, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs and immunotherapy. Finally, we discuss the autotherapeutic effect of miRNA intervention as a step toward the development of miRNA-based anti-RA drugs. Collectively, the current evidence supports miRNAs as interesting targets to better understand the pathogenetic mechanisms of RA and design more efficient therapeutic interventions.
    Keywords:  epigenetics; microRNA; pathogenesis; rheumatoid arthritis; susceptibility