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Apatinib-loaded nanoparticles suppress vascular endothelial growth factor-induced angiogenesis and experimental corneal neovascularization

Authors Lee JE, Kim KL, Kim D, Yeo Y, Han H, Kim MG, Kim SH, Kim H, Jeong JH, Suh W

Received 19 February 2017

Accepted for publication 2 June 2017

Published 5 July 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 4813—4822


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas Webster

Jung Eun Lee,1,* Koung Li Kim,2,* Danbi Kim,2 Yeongju Yeo,2 Hyounkoo Han,3 Myung Goo Kim,1,4 Sun Hwa Kim,4 Hyuncheol Kim,3,5 Ji Hoon Jeong,1,4 Wonhee Suh2

1School of Pharmacy, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, 2College of Pharmacy, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, 3Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Sogang University, 4Center for Theragnosis Biomedical Research Institute, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), 5Department of Biomedical Engineering, Sogang University, Seoul, Korea

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Pathological angiogenesis is one of the major symptoms of severe ocular diseases, including corneal neovascularization. The blockade of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) action has been recognized as an efficient strategy for treating corneal neovascularization. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether nanoparticle-based delivery of apatinib, a novel and selective inhibitor of VEGF receptor 2, inhibits VEGF-mediated angiogenesis and suppresses experimental corneal neovascularization. Water-insoluble apatinib was encapsulated in nanoparticles composed of human serum albumin (HSA)-conjugated polyethylene glycol (PEG). In vitro angiogenesis assays showed that apatinib-loaded HSA-PEG (Apa-HSA-PEG) nanoparticles potently inhibited VEGF-induced tube formation, scratch wounding migration, and proliferation of human endothelial cells. In a rat model of alkali burn injury-induced corneal neovascularization, a subconjunctival injection of Apa-HSA-PEG nanoparticles induced a significant decrease in neovascularization compared to that observed with an injection of free apatinib solution or phosphate-buffered saline. An in vivo distribution study using HSA-PEG nanoparticles loaded with fluorescent hydrophobic model drugs revealed the presence of a substantial number of nanoparticles in the corneal stroma within 24 h after injection. These in vitro and in vivo results demonstrate that apatinib-loaded nanoparticles may be promising for the prevention and treatment of corneal neovascularization-related ocular disorders.

Keywords: apatinib, corneal neovascularization, nanoparticle, vascular endothelial growth factor

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