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Aerosol Delivery of Functionalized Gold Nanoparticles Target and Activate Dendritic Cells in a 3D Lung Cellular Model.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Fytianos Kleanthis, Chortarea Savvina, Rodriguez-Lorenzo Laura, Blank Fabian, von Garnier Christophe, Petri-Fink Alke, Rothen-Rutishauser Barbara,
Project Biomedical nanoparticles as immune-modulators
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal ACS Nano
Page(s) in press
Title of proceedings ACS Nano
DOI 10.1021/acsnano.6b06061


Nanocarrier design combined with pulmonary drug delivery holds great promise for the treatment of respiratory tract disorders. In particular, targeting of dendritic cells that are key immune cells to enhance or suppress an immune response in the lung is a promising approach for the treatment of allergic diseases. Fluorescently encoded poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA)-coated gold nanoparticles, functionalized with either negative (-COO(-)) or positive (-NH3(+)) surface charges, were functionalized with a DC-SIGN antibody on the particle surface, enabling binding to a dendritic cell surface receptor. A 3D coculture model consisting of epithelial and immune cells (macrophages and dendritic cells) mimicking the human lung epithelial tissue barrier was employed to assess the effects of aerosolized AuNPs. PVA-NH2 AuNPs showed higher uptake compared to that of their -COOH counterparts, with the highest uptake recorded in macrophages, as shown by flow cytometry. None of the AuNPs induced cytotoxicity or necrosis or increased cytokine secretion, whereas only PVA-NH2 AuNPs induced higher apoptosis levels. DC-SIGN AuNPs showed significantly increased uptake by monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MDDCs) with subsequent activation compared to non-antibody-conjugated control AuNPs, independent of surface charge. Our results show that DC-SIGN conjugation to the AuNPs enhanced MDDC targeting and activation in a complex 3D lung cell model. These findings highlight the potential of immunoengineering approaches to the targeting and activation of immune cells in the lung by nanocarriers.