Inflammation is an essential protective biological response involving a coordinated cascade of signals between cytokines and immune signaling molecules that facilitate return to tissue homeostasis after acute injury or infection. However, inflammation is not effectively resolved in chronic inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis and can lead to tissue damage and exacerbation of the underlying condition. Therapeutics that dampen inflammation and enhance resolution are currently of considerable interest, in particular those that temper inflammation with minimal host collateral damage. Here we present the development and efficacy investigations of controlled-release polymeric nanoparticles incorporating the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin 10 (IL-10) for targeted delivery to atherosclerotic plaques. Nanoparticles were nanoengineered via self-assembly of biodegradable polyester polymers by nanoprecipitation using a rapid micromixer chip capable of producing nanoparticles with retained IL-10 bioactivity post-exposure to organic solvent. A systematic combinatorial approach was taken to screen nanoparticles, resulting in an optimal bioactive formulation from in vitro and ex vivo studies. The most potent nanoparticle termed Col-IV IL-10 NP22 significantly tempered acute inflammation in a self-limited peritonitis model and was shown to be more potent than native IL-10. Furthermore, the Col-IV IL-10 nanoparticles prevented vulnerable plaque formation by increasing fibrous cap thickness and decreasing necrotic cores in advanced lesions of high fat-fed LDLr–/– mice. These results demonstrate the efficacy and pro-resolving potential of this engineered nanoparticle for controlled delivery of the potent IL-10 cytokine for the treatment of atherosclerosis.
- Polymeric nanoparticles