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A Dual Receptor Targeting- and BBB Penetrating- Peptide Functionalized Polyethyleneimine Nanocomplex for Secretory Endostatin Gene Delivery to Malignant Glioma

Authors Lu L, Chen H, Wang L, Zhao L, Cheng Y, Wang A, Wang F, Zhang X

Received 8 July 2020

Accepted for publication 1 October 2020

Published 12 November 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 8875—8892


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Linlin Sun

Lu Lu,1 Hongyuan Chen,2 Longkun Wang,1 Lin Zhao,3 Yanna Cheng,3 Aijun Wang,4 Fengshan Wang,1 Xinke Zhang3

1Key Laboratory of Chemical Biology (Ministry of Education), Institute of Biochemical and Biotechnological Drug, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cheeloo College of Medicine, Shandong University, Jinan, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of General Surgery, Shandong Provincial Hospital, Cheeloo College of Medicine, Shandong University, Jinan, People’s Republic of China; 3Key Laboratory of Chemical Biology (Ministry of Education), Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cheeloo College of Medicine, Shandong University, Jinan, People’s Republic of China; 4Surgical Bioengineering Laboratory, Department of Surgery, UC Davis Health Medical Center, Sacramento, CA, USA

Correspondence: Fengshan Wang; Xinke Zhang
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cheeloo College of Medicine, Shandong University, No. 44 Wenhuaxi Road, Jinan 250012, People’s Republic of China
Tel/Fax +86 531 88382490

Purpose: Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) and neuropilin-1 (NRP-1) are two prominent synergistic receptors overexpressed on new blood vessels in glioma and may be promising targets for antiglioma therapy. The aim of this study was to design a dual receptor targeting and blood-brain barrier (BBB) penetrating peptide-modified polyethyleneimine (PEI) nanocomplex that can efficiently deliver the angiogenesis-inhibiting secretory endostatin gene (pVAXI-En) to treat glioma.
Materials and Methods: We first constructed the tandem peptide TAT-AT7 by conjugating AT7 to TAT and evaluated its binding affinity to VEGFR-2 and NRP-1, vasculature-targeting ability and BBB crossing capacity. Then, TAT-AT7-modified PEI polymer (PPTA) was synthesized, and a pVAXI-En-loaded PPTA nanocomplex (PPTA/pVAXI-En) was prepared. The physicochemical properties, cytotoxicity, transfection efficiency, capacities to cross the BBB and BTB (blood-tumor barrier) and glioma-targeting properties of PPTA/pVAXI-En were investigated. Moreover, the in vivo anti-angiogenic behaviors and anti-glioma effects of PPTA/pVAXI-En were evaluated in nude mice.
Results: The binding affinity of TAT-AT7 to VEGFR-2 and NRP-1 was approximately 3 to 10 times greater than that of AT7 or TAT. The cellular uptake of TAT-AT7 in endothelial cells was 5-fold and 119-fold greater than that of TAT and AT7 alone, respectively. TAT-AT7 also displayed remarkable efficiency in penetrating the BBB and glioma tissue in vivo. PPTA/pVAXI-En exhibited lower cytotoxicity, stronger BBB and BTB traversing abilities, higher selective glioma targeting and better gene transfection efficiency than PEI/pVAXI-En. More importantly, PPTA/pVAXI-En significantly suppressed the tube formation and migration of endothelial cells, inhibited glioma growth, and reduced the microvasculature in orthotopic U87 glioma-bearing nude mice.
Conclusion: Our study demonstrates that PPTA/pVAXI-En can be exploited as an efficient dual-targeting nanocomplex to cross the BBB and BTB, and hence it represents a feasible and promising nonviral gene delivery system for effective glioma therapy.

Keywords: VEGFR-2 and NRP-1 targeting, glioma penetration, multifunctional peptide, anti-angiogenesis, gene delivery system

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