Developing biomaterials to control the responsiveness of innate immune cells represents a clinically relevant approach to treat diseases with an underlying inflammatory basis, such as sepsis. Sepsis can involve activation of Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling, which activates numerous inflammatory pathways. The breadth of this inflammation has limited the efficacy of pharmacological interventions that target a single molecular pathway. Here, we developed cargo-less particles as a single-agent, multi-target platform to elicit broad anti-inflammatory action against innate immune cells challenged by multiple TLR agonists. The particles, prepared from poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) and poly(lactic acid) (PLA), displayed potent molecular weight-, polymer composition-, and charge-dependent immunomodulatory properties, including downregulation of TLR-induced costimulatory molecule expression and cytokine secretion. Particles prepared using the anionic surfactant poly(ethylene-alt-maleic acid) (PEMA) significantly blunted the responses of antigen presenting cells to TLR4 (lipopolysaccharide) and TLR9 (CpG-ODN) agonists, demonstrating broad inhibitory activity to both extracellular and intracellular TLR ligands. Interestingly, particles prepared using poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA), a neutrally-charged surfactant, only marginally inhibited inflammatory cytokine secretions. The biochemical pathways modulated by particles were investigated using TRanscriptional Activity CEll aRrays (TRACER), which implicated IRF1, STAT1, and AP-1 in the mechanism of action for PLA-PEMA particles. Using an LPS-induced endotoxemia mouse model, administration of PLA-PEMA particles prior to or following a lethal challenge resulted in significantly improved mean survival. Cargo-less particles affect multiple biological pathways involved in the development of inflammatory responses by innate immune cells and represent a potentially promising therapeutic strategy to treat severe inflammation.
Keywords: Cellular reprogramming; Endotoxemia; Immunomodulation; Inflammation; Nanoparticles; Sepsis.
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Conflict of interest statement
Conflicts of interest
R.M.P and L.D.S. have financial interests in Cour Pharmaceuticals Development Company.
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