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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Apr 26;108(17):7154-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1104540108. Epub 2011 Apr 11.

Specific penetration and accumulation of a homing peptide within atherosclerotic plaques of apolipoprotein E-deficient mice.

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  • 1Vascular Biology Laboratory, Center for Nanomedicine, The Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9610, USA.

Abstract

The ability to selectively deliver compounds into atherosclerotic plaques would greatly benefit the detection and treatment of atherosclerotic disease. We describe such a delivery system based on a 9-amino acid cyclic peptide, LyP-1. LyP-1 was originally identified as a tumor-homing peptide that specifically recognizes tumor cells, tumor lymphatics, and tumor-associated macrophages. As the receptor for LyP-1, p32, is expressed in atherosclerotic plaques, we tested the ability of LyP-1 to home to plaques. Fluorescein-labeled LyP-1 was intravenously injected into apolipoprotein E (ApoE)-null mice that had been maintained on a high-fat diet to induce atherosclerosis. LyP-1 accumulated in the plaque interior, predominantly in macrophages. More than 60% of cells released from plaques were positive for LyP-1 fluorescence. Another plaque-homing peptide, CREKA, which binds to fibrin-fibronectin clots and accumulates at the surface of plaques, yielded fewer positive cells. Tissues that did not contain plaque yielded only traces of LyP-1(+) cells. LyP-1 was capable of delivering intravenously injected nanoparticles to plaques; we observed abundant accumulation of LyP-1-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles in the plaque interior, whereas CREKA-nanoworms remained at the surface of the plaques. Intravenous injection of 4-[(18)F]fluorobenzoic acid ([(18)F]FBA)-conjugated LyP-1 showed a four- to sixfold increase in peak PET activity in aortas containing plaques (0.31% ID/g) compared with aortas from normal mice injected with [(18)F]FBA-LyP-1(0.08% ID/g, P < 0.01) or aortas from atherosclerotic ApoE mice injected with [(18)F]FBA-labeled control peptide (0.05% ID/g, P < 0.001). These results indicate that LyP-1 is a promising agent for the targeting of atherosclerotic lesions.

PMID:
21482787
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3084060
Free PMC Article
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