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Introduction - Nanoparticles are increasingly used as drug carriers for oral administration. The delivery of drug molecules is largely dependent on the interaction of nanocarriers and gastrointestinal (GI) mucus, a critical barrier that regulates drug absorption. It is therefore important to understand the effects of physical and chemical properties of nanocarriers on the interaction with GI mucus. Unfortunately, most of the nanoparticles are unable to be prepared with satisfactory structural monodispersity to comprehensively investigate the interaction. With controlled size, shape, and surface chemistry, copolymers are ideal candidates for such purpose.
Materials and methods - We synthesized a series of diblock copolymers via the atom transfer radical polymerization method and investigated the GI mucus permeability in vitro and in vivo.
Results - Our results indicated that uncharged and hydrophobic copolymers exhibited enhanced GI absorption.
Conclusion - These results provide insights into developing optimal nanocarriers for oral administration.
Protein-based vaccines have significant potential as infectious disease and anticancer therapeutics, but clinical impact has been limited in some applications by their inability to generate a coordinated cellular immune response. Here, a pH-responsive carrier incorporating poly(propylacrylic acid) (PPAA) was evaluated to test whether improved cytosolic delivery of a protein antigen could enhance CD8+ cytotoxic lymphocyte generation and prophylactic tumor vaccine responses. PPAA was directly conjugated to the model ovalbumin antigen via reducible disulfide linkages and was also tested in a particulate formulation after condensation with cationic poly(dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate) (PDMAEMA). Intracellular trafficking studies revealed that both PPAA-containing formulations were stably internalized and evaded exocytotic pathways, leading to increased intracellular accumulation and potential access to the cytosolic MHC-1 antigen presentation pathway. In an EG.7-OVA mouse tumor protection model, both PPAA-containing carriers robustly inhibited tumor growth and led to an approximately 3.5-fold increase in the longevity of tumor-free survival relative to controls. Mechanistically, this response was attributed to the 8-fold increase in production of ovalbumin-specific CD8+ T-lymphocytes and an 11-fold increase in production of antiovalbumin IgG. Significantly, this is one of the first demonstrated examples of in vivo immunotherapeutic efficacy using soluble protein-polymer conjugates. These results suggest that carriers enhancing cytosolic delivery of protein antigens could lead to more robust CD8+ T-cell response and demonstrate the potential of pH-responsive PPAA-based carriers for therapeutic vaccine applications.
We have developed a novel approach combining high information and high throughput analysis to characterize cell adhesive responses to biomaterial substrates possessing gradients in surface topography. These gradients were fabricated by subjecting thin film blends of tyrosine-derived polycarbonates, i.e. poly(DTE carbonate) and poly(DTO carbonate) to a gradient temperature annealing protocol. Saos-2 cells engineered with a green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter for farnesylation (GFP-f) were cultured on the gradient substrates to assess the effects of nanoscale surface topology and roughness that arise during the phase separation process on cell attachment and adhesion strength. The high throughput imaging approach allowed us to rapidly identify the "global" and "high content" structure-property relationships between cell adhesion and biomaterial properties such as polymer chemistry and topography. This study found that cell attachment and spreading increased monotonically with DTE content and were significantly elevated at the position with intermediate regions corresponding to the highest "gradient" of surface roughness, while GFP-f farnesylation intensity descriptors were sensitively altered by surface roughness, even in cells with comparable levels of spreading.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are extracellular proteolytic enzymes involved in tumor progression. We present the in vivo detection and quantitation of MMP7 activity using a specific near-infrared polymer-based proteolytic beacon, PB-M7NIR. PB-M7NIR is a pegylated polyamidoamine PAMAM-Generation 4 dendrimer core covalently coupled to a Cy5.5-labeled peptide representing a selective substrate that monitors MMP7 activity (sensor) and AF750 as an internal reference to monitor relative substrate concentration (reference). In vivo imaging of tumors expressing MMP7 had a median sensor to reference ratio 2.2-fold higher than a that of a bilateral control tumor. Ex vivo imaging of intestines of multiple intestinal neoplasia (APC Min) mice injected systemically with PB-M7NIR revealed a sixfold increase in the sensor to reference ratio in the adenomas of APC Min mice compared with control intestinal tissue or adenomas from MMP7-null Min mice. PB-M7NIR detected tumor sizes as small as 0.01 cm2, and the sensor to reference ratio was independent of tumor size. Histologic sectioning of xenograft tumors localized the proteolytic signal to the extracellular matrix; MMP7-overexpressing tumors displayed an approximately 300-fold enhancement in the sensor to reference ratio compared with nonexpressing tumor cells. In APC Min adenomas, the proteolytic signal colocalized with the endogenously expressed MMP7 protein, with sensor to reference ratios approximately sixfold greater than that of normal intestinal epithelium. PB-M7NIR provides a useful reagent for the in vivo and ex vivo quantitation and localization of MMP-selective proteolytic activity.
A number of techniques have been developed to monitor contractile function in isolated cardiac myocytes. While invaluable observations have been gained from these methodologies in understanding the contractile processes of the heart, they are invariably limited by their in vitro conditions. The present challenge is to develop innovative assays to mimic the in vivo milieu so as to allow a more physiological assessment of cardiac myocyte contractile forces. Here we demonstrate the use of a silicone elastomer, poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), to simultaneously orient adult cardiac myocytes in primary culture and measure the cellular forces in a three-dimensional substrate. The realignment of adult cardiac myocytes in long-term culture (7 days) was achieved due to directional reassembly of the myofibrils along the parallel polymeric sidewalls. The cellular mechanical forces were recorded in situ by observing the deformation of the micropillars embedded in the substrate. By coupling the cellular mechanical force measurements with on-chip cell orientation, this novel assay is expected to provide a means of a more physiological assessment of single cardiac myocyte contractile function and may facilitate the future development of in vitro assembled functional cardiac tissue.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.