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ACS Nano. 2018 Aug 28;12(8):8646-8661. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.8b04433. Epub 2018 Aug 15.

Enhanced Permeability and Retention-like Extravasation of Nanoparticles from the Vasculature into Tuberculosis Granulomas in Zebrafish and Mouse Models.

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Department of Biosciences , University of Oslo , Blindernveien 31 , 0371 Oslo , Norway.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology , Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine , C5 109 VMC, Ithaca , New York 14853 , United States.
Institute for Organic Chemistry , Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz , Duesbergweg 10-14 , 55099 Mainz , Germany.
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Pharmaceutics , Ghent University , Ottergemsesteenweg 460 , 9000 Ghent , Belgium.
Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry-Organic Chemistry , Free University of Berlin , Takustrasse 3 , 14195 Berlin , Germany.
Department of Radiation Biology, Institute for Cancer Research , The Norwegian Radium Hospital , Montebello, N-0310 Oslo , Norway.


The enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect is the only described mechanism enabling nanoparticles (NPs) flowing in blood to reach tumors by a passive targeting mechanism. Here, using the transparent zebrafish model infected with Mycobacterium marinum we show that an EPR-like process also occurs allowing different types of NPs to extravasate from the vasculature to reach granulomas that assemble during tuberculosis (TB) infection. PEGylated liposomes and other NP types cross endothelial barriers near infection sites within minutes after injection and accumulate close to granulomas. Although ∼100 and 190 nm NPs concentrated most in granulomas, even ∼700 nm liposomes reached these infection sites in significant numbers. We show by confocal microscopy that NPs can concentrate in small aggregates in foci on the luminal side of the endothelium adjacent to the granulomas. These spots are connected to larger foci of NPs on the ablumenal side of these blood vessels. EM analysis suggests that NPs cross the endothelium via the paracellular route. PEGylated NPs also accumulated efficiently in granulomas in a mouse model of TB infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, arguing that the zebrafish embryo model can be used to predict NP behavior in mammalian hosts. In earlier studies we and others showed that uptake of NPs by macrophages that are attracted to infection foci is one pathway for NPs to reach TB granulomas. This study reveals that when NPs are designed to avoid macrophage uptake, they can also efficiently target granulomas via an alternative mechanism that resembles EPR.


EPR; mouse; mycobacteria; nanoparticles; tuberculosis; zebrafish


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