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Conjugation of cell-penetrating peptides with poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)-polyethylene glycol nanoparticles improves ocular drug delivery

Authors Vasconcelos A, Vega E, Pérez Y, Gómara MJ, García ML, Haro I

Received 16 July 2014

Accepted for publication 24 September 2014

Published 27 January 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 609—631

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S71198

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Thomas J Webster


Aimee Vasconcelos,1 Estefania Vega,2 Yolanda Pérez,3 María J Gómara,1 María Luisa García,2 Isabel Haro1

1Unit of Synthesis and Biomedical Applications of Peptides, Department of Biomedical Chemistry, Institute for Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (IQAC-CSIC), 2Department of Physical Chemistry, Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Barcelona, 3Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Unit, IQAC-CSIC, Barcelona, Spain


Abstract: In this work, a peptide for ocular delivery (POD) and human immunodeficiency virus transactivator were conjugated with biodegradable poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PGLA)–polyethylene glycol (PEG)-nanoparticles (NPs) in an attempt to improve ocular drug bioavailability. The NPs were prepared by the solvent displacement method following two different pathways. One involved preparation of PLGA NPs followed by PEG and peptide conjugation (PLGA-NPs-PEG-peptide); the other involved self-assembly of PLGA-PEG and the PLGA-PEG-peptide copolymer followed by NP formulation. The conjugation of the PEG and the peptide was confirmed by a colorimetric test and proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Flurbiprofen was used as an example of an anti-inflammatory drug. The physicochemical properties of the resulting NPs (morphology, in vitro release, cell viability, and ocular tolerance) were studied. In vivo anti-inflammatory efficacy was assessed in rabbit eyes after topical instillation of sodium arachidonate. Of the formulations developed, the PLGA-PEG-POD NPs were the smaller particles and exhibited greater entrapment efficiency and more sustained release. The positive charge on the surface of these NPs, due to the conjugation with the positively charged peptide, facilitated penetration into the corneal epithelium, resulting in more effective prevention of ocular inflammation. The in vitro toxicity of the NPs developed was very low; no ocular irritation in vitro (hen’s egg test–chorioallantoic membrane assay) or in vivo (Draize test) was detected. Taken together, these data demonstrate that PLGA-PEG-POD NPs are promising vehicles for ocular drug delivery.

Keywords: peptide for ocular delivery, flurbiprofen, controlled release, ocular tolerance, anti-inflammatory

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