Send to

Choose Destination
Theranostics. 2017 Jul 21;7(12):2982-2995. doi: 10.7150/thno.19374. eCollection 2017.

Discovery of Aptamer Ligands for Hepatic Stellate Cells Using SELEX.

Author information

Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 2464 Charlotte Street, Kansas City, MO 64108, United States.


Insulin like growth factor II receptor (IGFIIR) is a transmembrane protein overexpressed in activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), which are the major target for the treatment of liver fibrosis. In this study, we aim to discover an IGFIIR-specific aptamer that can be potentially used as a targeting ligand for the treatment and diagnosis of liver fibrosis. Systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX) was conducted on recombinant human IGFIIR to identify IGFIIR-specific aptamers. The binding affinity and specificity of the discovered aptamers to IGFIIR and hepatic stellate cells were studied using flow cytometry and Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR). Aptamer-20 showed the highest affinity to recombinant human IGFIIR protein with a Kd of 35.5 nM, as determined by SPR. Aptamer-20 also has a high affinity (apparent Kd 45.12 nM) to LX-2 human hepatic stellate cells. Binding of aptamer-20 to hepatic stellate cells could be inhibited by knockdown of IGFIIR using siRNA, indicating a high specificity of the aptamer. The aptamer formed a chimera with an anti-fibrotic PCBP2 siRNA and delivered the siRNA to HSC-T6 cells to trigger silencing activity. In Vivo biodistribution study of the siRNA-aptamer chimera also demonstrated a high and specific uptake in the liver of the rats with CCl4-induced liver fibrosis. These data suggest that aptamer-20 is a high-affinity ligand for antifibrotic and diagnostic agents for liver fibrosis.


IGFIIR; PCBP2.; SELEX; aptamer; hepatic stellate cells; imaging; liver fibrosis; siRNA chimera; targeted delivery

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Ivyspring International Publisher Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center