Hyaluronic acid-decorated chitosan nanoparticles for CD44-targeted delivery of everolimus

Enrica Chiesa, Rossella Dorati, Bice Conti, Tiziana Modena, Emanuela Cova, Federica Meloni, Ida Genta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS), caused by lung allograft-derived mesenchymal cells’ abnormal proliferation and extracellular matrix deposition, is the main cause of lung allograft rejection. In this study, a mild one-step ionotropic gelation method was set up to nanoencapsulate the everolimus, a key molecule in allograft organ rejection prevention, into hyaluronic acid-decorated chitosan-based nanoparticles. Rationale was the selective delivery of everolimus into lung allograft-derived mesenchymal cells; these cells are characterized by the CD44-overexpressing feature, and hyaluronic acid has proven to be a natural selective CD44-targeting moiety. The optimal process conditions were established by a design of experiment approach (full factorial design) aiming at the control of the nanoparticle size (≤200 nm), minimizing the size polydispersity (PDI 0.171 ± 0.04), and at the negative ζ potential maximization (−30.9 mV). The everolimus was successfully loaded into hyaluronic acid-decorated chitosan-based nanoparticles (95.94 ± 13.68 µg/100 mg nanoparticles) and in vitro released in 24 h. The hyaluronic acid decoration on the nanoparticles provided targetability to CD44-overexpressing mesenchymal cells isolated from bronchoalveolar lavage of BOS-affected patients. The mesenchymal cells’ growth tests along with the nanoparticles uptake studies, at 37° C and 4° C, respectively, demonstrated a clear improvement of everolimus inhibitory activity when it is encapsulated in hyaluronic acid-decorated chitosan-based nanoparticles, ascribable to their active uptake mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2310
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 7 2018


  • Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome
  • CD44-targeting
  • Everolimus
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Ionotropic gelification
  • Polysaccharides nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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