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Am J Pathol. 2011 Jun;178(6):2489-95. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.02.032. Epub 2011 May 6.

Peptide-directed highly selective targeting of pulmonary arterial hypertension.

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  • 1Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (formerly the Burnham Institute for Medical Research) at Lake Nona, Orlando, Florida, USA.


Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a disorder of the pulmonary vasculature associated with elevated pulmonary vascular resistance. Despite recent advances in the treatment of PAH, with eight approved clinical therapies and additional therapies undergoing clinical trials, PAH remains a serious life-threatening condition. The lack of pulmonary vascular selectivity and associated systemic adverse effects of these therapies remain the main obstacles to successful treatment. Peptide-mediated drug delivery that specifically targets the vasculature of PAH lungs may offer a solution to the lack of drug selectivity. Herein, we show highly selective targeting of rat PAH lesions by a novel cyclic peptide, CARSKNKDC (CAR). Intravenous administration of CAR peptide resulted in intense accumulation of the peptide in monocrotaline-induced and SU5416/hypoxia-induced hypertensive lungs but not in healthy lungs or other organs of PAH rats. CAR homed to all layers of remodeled pulmonary arteries, ie, endothelium, neointima, medial smooth muscle, and adventitia, in the hypertensive lungs. CAR also homed to capillary vessels and accumulated in the interstitial space of the PAH lungs, manifesting its extravasation activity. These results demonstrated the remarkable ability of CAR to selectively target PAH lung vasculature and effectively penetrate and spread throughout the diseased lung tissue. These results suggest the clinical utility of CAR in the targeted delivery of therapeutic compounds and imaging probes to PAH lungs.

Copyright © 2011 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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