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Brain Res. 2007 Nov 14;1180:121-32. Epub 2007 Aug 29.

Dilation and degradation of the brain extracellular matrix enhances penetration of infused polymer nanoparticles.

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Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


This study investigates methods of manipulating the brain extracellular matrix (ECM) to enhance the penetration of nanoparticle drug carriers in convection-enhanced delivery (CED). A probe was fabricated with two independent microfluidic channels to infuse, either simultaneously or sequentially, nanoparticles and ECM-modifying agents. Infusions were performed in the striatum of the normal rat brain. Monodisperse polystyrene particles with a diameter of 54 nm were used as a model nanoparticle system. Because the size of these particles is comparable to the effective pore size of the ECM, their transport may be significantly hindered compared with the transport of low molecular weight molecules. To enhance the transport of the infused nanoparticles, we attempted to increase the effective pore size of the ECM by two methods: dilating the extracellular space and degrading selected constituents of the ECM. Two methods of dilating the extracellular space were investigated: co-infusion of nanoparticles and a hyperosmolar solution of mannitol, and pre-infusion of an isotonic buffer solution followed by infusion of nanoparticles. These treatments resulted in an increase in the nanoparticle distribution volume of 51% and 123%, respectively. To degrade hyaluronan, a primary structural component of the brain ECM, a pre-infusion of hyaluronidase (20,000 U/mL) was followed after 30 min by infusion of nanoparticles. This treatment resulted in an increase in the nanoparticle distribution of 64%. Our results suggest that both dilation and enzymatic digestion can be incorporated into CED protocols to enhance nanoparticle penetration.

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