Dual use of amphiphilic macromolecules as cholesterol efflux triggers and inhibitors of macrophage athero-inflammation
Activated vascular wall macrophages can rapidly internalize modified lipoproteins and escalate the growth of atherosclerotic plaques. This article proposes a biomaterials-based therapeutic intervention for depletion of non-regulated cholesterol accumulation and inhibition of inflammation of macrophages. Macromolecules with high scavenger receptor (SR)-binding activity were investigated for SR-mediated delivery of agonists to cholesterol-trafficking nuclear liver-X receptors. From a diverse feature space of a family of amphiphilic macromolecules of linear and aromatic mucic acid backbones modified with varied aliphatic chains and conjugated with differentially branched poly(ethylene glycol), a key molecule (carboxyl-terminated, C12-derivatized, linear mucic acid backbone) was selected for its ability to preferentially bind scavenger receptor A (SR-A) as the key target. At a basal level, this macromolecule suppressed the pro-inflammatory signaling of activated THP-1 macrophages while competitively lowering oxLDL uptake in vitro through scavenger receptor SRA-1 targeting. To further deplete intracellular cholesterol, the core macromolecule structure was exploited to solubilize a hydrophobic small molecule agonist for nuclear Liver-X Receptors, which regulate the efflux of intracellular cholesterol. The macromolecule-encapsulated agonist system was found to reduce oxLDL accumulation by 88% in vitro in comparison to controls. in vivo studies were designed to release the macromolecules (with or without encapsulated agonist) to injured carotid arteries within Sprague Dawley rats fed a high fat diet, conditions that yield enhanced cholesterol accumulation and macrophage recruitment. The macromolecules lowered intimal levels of accumulated cholesterol (50% for macromolecule alone; 70% for macromolecule-encapsulated agonist) and inhibited macrophage retention (92% for macromolecule; 96% for macromolecule-encapsulated agonist; 4 days) relative to non-treated controls. Thus, this study highlights the promise of designing bioactive macromolecule therapeutics based on scavenger receptor targeting, for potential management of vascular arterial disease.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 32, Issue 32, November 2011, Pages 8319–8327