Biological Hyperthermia-Inducing Nanoparticles for Specific Remodeling of the Extracellular Matrix Microenvironment Enhance Pro-Apoptotic Therapy in Fibrosis

ACS Nano. 2023 Jun 13;17(11):10113-10128. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.2c12831. Epub 2023 May 25.


The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a major driver of fibrotic diseases and forms a dense fibrous barrier that impedes nanodrug delivery. Because hyperthermia causes destruction of ECM components, we developed a nanoparticle preparation to induce fibrosis-specific biological hyperthermia (designated as GPQ-EL-DNP) to improve pro-apoptotic therapy against fibrotic diseases based on remodeling of the ECM microenvironment. GPQ-EL-DNP is a matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9-responsive peptide, (GPQ)-modified hybrid nanoparticle containing fibroblast-derived exosomes and liposomes (GPQ-EL) and is loaded with a mitochondrial uncoupling agent, 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP). GPQ-EL-DNP can specifically accumulate and release DNP in the fibrotic focus, inducing collagen denaturation through biological hyperthermia. The preparation was able to remodel the ECM microenvironment, decrease stiffness, and suppress fibroblast activation, which further enhanced GPQ-EL-DNP delivery to fibroblasts and sensitized fibroblasts to simvastatin-induced apoptosis. Therefore, simvastatin-loaded GPQ-EL-DNP achieved an improved therapeutic effect on multiple types of murine fibrosis. Importantly, GPQ-EL-DNP did not induce systemic toxicity to the host. Therefore, the nanoparticle GPQ-EL-DNP for fibrosis-specific hyperthermia can be used as a potential strategy to enhance pro-apoptotic therapy in fibrotic diseases.

Keywords: 2,4-dinitrophenol; exosome and liposome hybrid nanoparticles; fibrosis; hyperthermia; remodeling of the extracellular matrix microenvironment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Collagen / pharmacology
  • Extracellular Matrix*
  • Fibroblasts
  • Fibrosis
  • Hyperthermia, Induced*
  • Mice


  • Collagen