Amphiphilic macromolecule nanoassemblies suppress smooth muscle cell proliferation and platelet adhesion

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While the development of second- and third-generation drug-eluting stents (DES) have significantly improved patient outcomes by reducing smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation, DES have also been associated with an increased risk of late-stent thrombosis due to delayed re-endothelialization and hypersensitivity reactions from the drug-polymer coating. Furthermore, DES anti-proliferative agents do not counteract the upstream oxidative stress that triggers the SMC proliferation cascade. In this study, we investigate biocompatible amphiphilic macromolecules (AMs) that address high oxidative lipoprotein microenvironments by competitively binding oxidized lipid receptors and suppressing SMC proliferation with minimal cytotoxicity. To determine the influence of nanoscale assembly on proliferation, micelles and nanoparticles were fabricated from AM unimers containing a phosphonate or carboxylate end-group, a sugar-based hydrophobic domain, and a hydrophilic poly(ethylene glycol) domain. The results indicate that when SMCs are exposed to high levels of oxidized lipid stimuli, nanotherapeutics inhibit lipid uptake, downregulate scavenger receptor expression, and attenuate scavenger receptor gene transcription in SMCs, and thus significantly suppress proliferation. Although both functional end-groups were similarly efficacious, nanoparticles suppressed oxidized lipid uptake and scavenger receptor expression more effectively compared to micelles, indicating the relative importance of formulation characteristics (e.g., higher localized AM concentrations and nanotherapeutic stability) in scavenger receptor binding as compared to AM end-group functionality. Furthermore, AM coatings significantly prevented platelet adhesion to metal, demonstrating its potential as an anti-platelet therapy to treat thrombosis. Thus, AM micelles and NPs can effectively repress early stage SMC proliferation and thrombosis through non-cytotoxic mechanisms, highlighting the promise of nanomedicine for next-generation cardiovascular therapeutics.




Chan, J. W., Lewis, D. R., Petersen, L. K., Moghe, P. V., & Uhrich, K. E. (2016). Amphiphilic macromolecule nanoassemblies suppress smooth muscle cell proliferation and platelet adhesion. Biomaterials, 84, 219–229.

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