Loading Imatinib inside targeted nanoparticles to prevent Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome

L. Pandolfi, R. Fusco, V. Frangipane, R. D’Amico, M. Giustra, S. Bozzini, M. Morosini, M. D’Amato, E. Cova, G. Ferrario, P. Morbini, M. Colombo, D. Prosperi, S. Viglio, D. Piloni, R. Di Paola, S. Cuzzocrea, F. Meloni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome seriously reduces long-term survival of lung transplanted patients. Up to now there is no effective therapy once BOS is established. Nanomedicine introduces the possibility to administer drugs locally into lungs increasing drug accumulation in alveola reducing side effects. Imatinib was loaded in gold nanoparticles (GNP) functionalized with antibody against CD44 (GNP-HCIm). Lung fibroblasts (LFs) were derived from bronchoalveolar lavage of BOS patients. GNP-HCIm cytotoxicity was evaluated by MTT assay, apoptosis/necrosis and phosphorylated-cAbl (cAbl-p). Heterotopic tracheal transplantation (HTT) mouse model was used to evaluate the effect of local GNP-HCIm administration by Alzet pump. GNP-HCIm decreased LFs viability compared to Imatinib (44.4 ± 1.8% vs. 91.8 ± 3.2%, p < 0.001), inducing higher apoptosis (22.68 ± 4.3% vs. 6.43 ± 0.29; p < 0.001) and necrosis (18.65 ± 5.19%; p < 0.01). GNP-HCIm reduced cAbl-p (0.41 GNP-HCIm, 0.24 Imatinib vs. to control; p < 0.001). GNP-HCIm in HTT mouse model by Alzet pump significantly reduced tracheal lumen obliteration (p < 0.05), decreasing apoptosis (p < 0.05) and TGF-β-positive signal (p < 0.05) in surrounding tissue. GNP-HCIm treatment significantly reduced lymphocytic and neutrophil infiltration and mast cells degranulation (p < 0.05). Encapsulation of Imatinib into targeted nanoparticles could be considered a new option to inhibit the onset of allograft rejection acting on BOS specific features. © 2020, The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Article number20726
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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