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Mol Ther. 2009 Jan;17(1):162-8. doi: 10.1038/mt.2008.220. Epub 2008 Sep 30.

Chitosan/siRNA nanoparticle-mediated TNF-alpha knockdown in peritoneal macrophages for anti-inflammatory treatment in a murine arthritis model.

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Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO), University of Aarhus, Aarhus C, Denmark.


Secretion of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) by macrophages plays a predominant role in the development and progression of rheumatoid arthritis. We demonstrate that knockdown of TNF-alpha expression in systemic macrophages by intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of chitosan/small interfering RNA (siRNA) nanoparticles in mice downregulates systemic and local inflammation. Chitosan nanoparticles containing an unmodified anti-TNF-alpha Dicer-substrate siRNA (DsiRNA) mediated TNF-alpha knockdown (approximately 66%) in primary peritoneal macrophages in vitro. The presence of Cy3-labeled nanoparticles within peritoneal macrophages and specific TNF-alpha knockdown (approximately 44%) with TNF-alpha siRNA after i.p. injection supports our therapeutic approach. Downregulation of TNF-alpha-induced inflammatory responses arrested joint swelling in collagen-induced arthritic (CIA) mice dosed i.p. with anti-TNF-alpha DsiRNA nanoparticles. The use of 2'-O-Me-modified DsiRNA resulted in the lowest arthritic scores and correlated with reduced type I interferon (IFN) activation in macrophages in vivo compared with unmodified DsiRNA. Histological analysis of joints revealed minimal cartilage destruction and inflammatory cell infiltration in anti-TNF-alpha-treated mice. The onset of arthritis could be delayed using a prophylactic dosing regime. This work demonstrates nanoparticle-mediated TNF-alpha knockdown in peritoneal macrophages as a method to reduce both local and systemic inflammation, thereby presenting a novel strategy for arthritis treatment.

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