Tunable Surface Charge Enables the Electrostatic Adsorption-Controlled Release of Neuroprotective Peptides from a Hydrogel-Nanoparticle Drug Delivery System

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2023 Jan 11;15(1):91-105. doi: 10.1021/acsami.2c17631. Epub 2022 Dec 15.


We exploit the electrostatic interactions between the positively charged neuroprotective peptide, pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP), and negatively charged poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles to control PACAP release from the surface of nanoparticles dispersed in a hyaluronan-methylcellulose (HAMC) hydrogel composite. PACAP is a promising therapeutic for the treatment of neurological disorders, yet it has been difficult to deliver in vivo. Herein, the PACAP release rate was tuned by manipulating peptide adsorption onto the surface of blank nanoparticles by modifying either nanoparticle loading in the hydrogel or nanoparticle surface charge. This peptide-nanoparticle interaction was controlled by the pH-responsive carboxylic acid end terminal groups of PLGA. We further validated this system with the controlled release of a novel stabilized PACAP analog: Ac-[Ala15, Ala20]PACAP-propylamide, which masks its recognition to peptidases in circulation. Both wild-type and stabilized PACAP released from the vehicle increased the production of neuroprotective Interleukin-6 from cultured primary astrocytes. Using computational fluid dynamics methods, PACAP release from the composite was predicted based on experimentally derived adsorption isotherms, which exhibited similar release profiles to experimental data. This versatile adsorption-based system was used to deliver PACAP locally to the brains of stroke-injured mice over a 10 day period in vivo, highlighting its effectiveness for the controlled release of PACAP to the central nervous system.

Keywords: PLGA; affinity controlled release; central nervous system; electrostatic; hydrogel; nanoparticle; peptide.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Animals
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Hydrogels*
  • Mice
  • Nanoparticle Drug Delivery System
  • Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-Activating Polypeptide*
  • Static Electricity


  • Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-Activating Polypeptide
  • Hydrogels
  • Nanoparticle Drug Delivery System
  • Delayed-Action Preparations