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J Hepatol. 2016 Mar;64(3):547-55. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2015.10.014. Epub 2015 Oct 24.

Novel pH-sensitive multifunctional envelope-type nanodevice for siRNA-based treatments for chronic HBV infection.

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Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, Tokyo 156-8506, Japan.
Laboratory of Innovative Nanomedicine, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hokkaido University, Hokkaido 060-0812, Japan.
PhoenixBio Co., Ltd., 3-4-1, Kagamiyama, Hiroshima 739-0046, Japan.
Department of Virology and Liver Unit, Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Nagoya 467-8601, Japan.
Department of Medicine and Molecular Science, Division of Frontier Medical Science, Programs for Biomedical Research, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Hiroshima University, Minami-ku, Hiroshima 734-8551, Japan.
Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, Tokyo 156-8506, Japan. Electronic address:



Antiviral agents including entecavir (ETV) suppress the replication of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) genome in human hepatocytes, but they do not reduce the abundance of viral proteins. The present study focused on effectively reducing viral protein levels.


We designed siRNAs (HBV-siRNA) that target consensus sequences in HBV genomes. To prevent the emergence of escaped mutant virus, we mixed three HBV-siRNAs (HBV-siRNAmix); the mixture was encapsulated in a novel pH-sensitive multifunctional envelope-type nanodevice (MEND), a hepatocyte-specific drug delivery system. Coagulation factor 7 siRNA was used to assess delivery and knockdown efficiencies of MEND/siRNA treatments in mice. The potency of MEND/HBV-siRNAmix was evaluated in primary human hepatocytes and in chimeric mice with humanized liver persistently infected with HBV.


Effective knockdown of targets, efficient delivery of siRNA, and liver-specific delivery were each observed with MEND. MEND/HBV-siRNA caused efficient reduction of HBsAg and HBeAg in vitro and in vivo. However, ETV treatment did not efficiently reduce HBsAg or HBeAg when compared with a single MEND/HBV-siRNAmix treatment. Furthermore, the suppressive effects of a single dose of MEND/HBV-siRNAmix persisted for 14days in vitro and in vivo.


We demonstrated that MEND/HBV-siRNA controlled HBV more efficiently than did ETV. Furthermore, the effect of a single dose of MEND/HBV-siRNA persisted for a long time. These results indicated that MEND/HBV-siRNA may be a promising novel HBV treatment that is more effective than reverse transcriptase inhibitors.


Chronic HBV infection; RNAi therapy; pH-sensitive multifunctional envelope-type nanodevice

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