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Int J Nanomedicine. 2016 Jun 8;11:2663-73. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S104593. eCollection 2016.

Fabrication of novel vesicles of triptolide for antirheumatoid activity with reduced toxicity in vitro and in vivo.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Longhua Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, People's Republic of China; Institute of Spine, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Life Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.


Triptolide (TP) displays a strong immunosuppression function in immune-mediated diseases, especially in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. However, in addition to its medical and health-related functions, TP also exhibits diverse pharmacological side effects, for instance, liver and kidney toxicity and myelosuppression. In order to reduce the side effects, a nano drug carrier system (γ-PGA-l-PAE-TP [PPT]), in which TP was loaded by a poly-γ-glutamic acid-grafted l-phenylalanine ethylester copolymer, was developed. PPT was characterized by photon scattering correlation spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy, which demonstrated that the average diameter of the drug carrier system is 98±15 nm, the polydispersity index is 0.18, the zeta potential is -35 mV, and the TP encapsulation efficiency is 48.6% with a controlled release manner. The methylthiazolyldiphenyl-tetrazolium bromide assay and flow cytometry revealed that PPT could decrease toxicity and apoptosis induced by free TP on RAW264.7 cells, respectively. The detection of reactive oxygen species showed that PPT could decrease the cellular reactive oxygen species induced by TP. Compared with the free TP-treated group, PPT improved the survival rate of the mice (P<0.01) and had no side effects or toxic effects on the thymus index (P>0.05) and spleen index (P>0.05). The blood biochemical indexes revealed that PPT did not cause much damage to the kidney (blood urea nitrogen and creatinine), liver (serum alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase), or blood cells (P>0.05). Meanwhile, hematoxylin and eosin staining and terminal-deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling staining indicated that PPT reduced the damage of free TP on the liver, kidney, and spleen. Our results demonstrated that PPT reduced free TP toxicity in vitro and in vivo and that it is a promising fundamental drug delivery system for rheumatoid arthritis treatment.


drug carrier system; poly-γ-glutamic acid; toxicity; triptolide

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