Reduction of atherosclerotic lesions in rabbits treated with etoposide associated with cholesterol-rich nanoemulsions
Elaine R Tavares1, Fatima R Freitas1, Jayme Diament1, Raul C Maranhão1,2
1Heart Institute of the Medical School Hospital (InCor), University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; 2Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Objectives: Cholesterol-rich nanoemulsions (LDE) bind to low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors and after injection into the bloodstream concentrate in aortas of atherosclerotic rabbits. Association of paclitaxel with LDE markedly reduces the lesions. In previous studies, treatment of refractory cancer patients with etoposide associated with LDE had been shown devoid of toxicity. In this study, the ability of etoposide to reduce lesions and inflammatory factors in atherosclerotic rabbits was investigated.
Methods: Eighteen New Zealand rabbits were fed a 1% cholesterol diet for 60 days. Starting from day 30, nine animals were treated with four weekly intravenous injections of etoposide oleate (6 mg/kg) associated with LDE, and nine control animals were treated with saline solution injections.
Results: LDE-etoposide reduced the lesion areas of cholesterol-fed animals by 85% and intima width by 50% and impaired macrophage and smooth muscle cell invasion of the intima. Treatment also markedly reduced the protein expression of lipoprotein receptors (LDL receptor, LDL-related protein-1, cluster of differentiation 36, and scavenger receptor class B member 1), inflammatory cytokines (interleukin-1β and tumor necrosis factor-α), matrix metallopeptidase-9, and cell proliferation markers (topoisomerase IIα and tubulin).
Conclusion: The ability of LDE-etoposide to strongly reduce the lesion area and the inflammatory process warrants the great therapeutic potential of this novel preparation to target the inflammatory-proliferative basic mechanisms of the disease.
Keywords: atherosclerosis treatment, drug delivery, LDL-receptors
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