Evaluation of liposomal nanocarriers loaded with ETB receptor agonist, IRL-1620, using cell-based assays

Neuroscience. 2016 Jan 15;312:141-52. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.11.016. Epub 2015 Nov 18.


One common feature of most neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD) and stroke, is the death of neuronal cells. Neuronal cell death is associated with apoptosis, generation of reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress. Neuronal cell death pathways can be reversed by endothelin B receptor agonist, IRL-1620, which was found to enhance neuroprotection by promoting vascular and neuronal growth in a rodent stroke model. Previous studies conducted at our institution indicated that the treatment with IRL-1620 significantly improved neurological and motor function while reducing oxidative stress and overall infarct area. IRL-1620 is a hydrophilic, 15 amino acid peptide and has a molecular weight of 1820Da. In this study, we have encapsulated IRL-1620 in PEGylated liposomes in order to enhance its efficacy. Each batch of liposomes encapsulating IRL-1620 was evaluated for particle size, polydispersity index, and charge (zeta potential) over a period of time to determine their stability. A dose-response bar graph was plotted based on the effect of neuroprotection by free IRL-1620 on differentiated neuronal PC-12 cells. The 1nM concentration was found to have the highest cell viability. The liposomes loaded with IRL-1620 were tested on differentiated neuronal PC-12 cells for their neuroprotective ability against apoptosis caused by removal of nerve growth factor (NGF) against free (non-encapsulated) IRL-1620. The liposomal IRL-1620 was found to proliferate the growth of serum-deprived differentiated PC-12 cells significantly (p<0.0001). In the western blot analysis, the expression of the anti-apoptotic marker, BCL-2 was found to be increased, and that of pro-apoptotic marker, BAX was found to be decreased with liposomal IRL-1620. The effects were found to be independent of the NGF levels. Finally the free IRL-1620 was found to cause neuronal outgrowth equivalent to the 75ng/ml NGF treatment.

Keywords: ET(B) receptor agonist; IRL-1620; PC-12 cells; PEGylated liposomes.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Assay
  • Cell Survival
  • Endothelins / administration & dosage*
  • Endothelins / pharmacology*
  • Liposomes
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • PC12 Cells
  • Peptide Fragments / administration & dosage*
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology*
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Rats
  • Receptor, Endothelin B / agonists*


  • Endothelins
  • Liposomes
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Receptor, Endothelin B
  • IRL 1620
  • Polyethylene Glycols