Self-Assembling Nanoparticles Containing Dexamethasone as a Novel Therapy in Allergic Airways Inflammation

>Nanocarriers can deliver a wide variety of drugs, target them to sites of interest, and protect them from degradation and inactivation by the body. They have the capacity to improve drug action and decrease undesirable systemic effects. We have previously developed a well-defined non-toxic PEG-dendritic block telodendrimer for successful delivery of chemotherapeutics agents and, in these studies, we apply this technology for therapeutic development in asthma. In these proof-of-concept experiments, we hypothesized that dexamethasone contained in self-assembling nanoparticles (Dex-NP) and delivered systemically would target the lung and decrease allergic lung inflammation and airways hyper-responsiveness to a greater degree than equivalent doses of dexamethasone (Dex) alone. We found that ovalbumin (Ova)-exposed mice treated with Dex-NP had significantly fewer total cells (2.78±0.44×105 (n = 18) vs. 5.98±1.3×105 (n = 13), P<0.05) and eosinophils (1.09±0.28×105 (n = 18) vs. 2.94±0.6×105 (n = 12), p<0.05) in the lung lavage than Ova-exposed mice alone. Also, lower levels of the inflammatory cytokines IL-4 (3.43±1.2 (n = 11) vs. 8.56±2.1 (n = 8) pg/ml, p<0.05) and MCP-1 (13.1±3.6 (n = 8) vs. 28.8±8.7 (n = 10) pg/ml, p<0.05) were found in lungs of the Dex-NP compared to control, and they were not lower in the Dex alone group. In addition, respiratory system resistance was lower in the Dex-NP compared to the other Ova-exposed groups suggesting a better therapeutic effect on airways hyperresponsiveness. Taken together, these findings from early-stage drug development studies suggest that the encapsulation and protection of anti-inflammatory agents such as corticosteroids in nanoparticle formulations can improve efficacy. Further development of novel drugs in nanoparticles is warranted to explore potential treatments for chronic inflammatory diseases such as asthma.

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