Controlled Delivery of Pan-PAD-Inhibitor Cl-Amidine Using Poly(3-Hydroxybutyrate) Microspheres

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Nov 27;22(23):12852. doi: 10.3390/ijms222312852.


This study deals with the process of optimization and synthesis of Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) microspheres with encapsulated Cl-amidine. Cl-amidine is an inhibitor of peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs), a group of calcium-dependent enzymes, which play critical roles in a number of pathologies, including autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as cancer. While Cl-amidine application has been assessed in a number of in vitro and in vivo models; methods of controlled release delivery remain to be investigated. P(3HB) microspheres have proven to be an effective delivery system for several compounds applied in antimicrobial, wound healing, cancer, and cardiovascular and regenerative disease models. In the current study, P(3HB) microspheres with encapsulated Cl-amidine were produced in a size ranging from ~4-5 µm and characterized for surface morphology, porosity, hydrophobicity and protein adsorption, in comparison with empty P(3HB) microspheres. Cl-amidine encapsulation in P(3HB) microspheres was optimized, and these were found to be less hydrophobic, compared with the empty microspheres, and subsequently adsorbed a lower amount of protein on their surface. The release kinetics of Cl-amidine from the microspheres were assessed in vitro and expressed as a function of encapsulation efficiency. There was a burst release of ~50% Cl-amidine in the first 24 h and a zero order release from that point up to 16 days, at which time point ~93% of the drug had been released. As Cl-amidine has been associated with anti-cancer effects, the Cl-amidine encapsulated microspheres were assessed for the inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression in the mammalian breast cancer cell line SK-BR-3, including in the presence of the anti-proliferative drug rapamycin. The cytotoxicity of the combinatorial effect of rapamycin with Cl-amidine encapsulated P(3HB) microspheres was found to be 3.5% more effective within a 24 h period. The cells treated with Cl-amidine encapsulated microspheres alone, were found to have 36.5% reduction in VEGF expression when compared with untreated SK-BR-3 cells. This indicates that controlled release of Cl-amidine from P(3HB) microspheres may be effective in anti-cancer treatment, including in synergy with chemotherapeutic agents. Using controlled drug-delivery of Cl-amidine encapsulated in Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) microspheres may be a promising novel strategy for application in PAD-associated pathologies.

Keywords: Cl-amidine; Poly(3-Hydroxybutyrate) microspheres; controlled drug delivery; encapsulation; peptidylarginine deiminase inhibitor.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxybutyrates / administration & dosage*
  • Hydroxybutyrates / chemistry
  • Microspheres
  • Ornithine / administration & dosage
  • Ornithine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Ornithine / chemistry
  • Polyesters / administration & dosage*
  • Polyesters / chemistry
  • Protein-Arginine Deiminases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / genetics
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Hydroxybutyrates
  • N-alpha-benzoyl-N5-(2-chloro-1-iminoethyl)-L-ornithine amide
  • Polyesters
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate
  • Ornithine
  • Protein-Arginine Deiminases