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Acta Biomater. 2019 Jan 1;83:379-389. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2018.11.002. Epub 2018 Nov 3.

A stabilized retro-inverso peptide ligand of transferrin receptor for enhanced liposome-based hepatocellular carcinoma-targeted drug delivery.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Drug Targeting and Drug Delivery Systems, West China School of Pharmacy, Sichuan University, No. 17, Block 3, Southern Renmin Road, Chengdu 610041, PR China.
2
Key Laboratory of Drug Targeting and Drug Delivery Systems, West China School of Pharmacy, Sichuan University, No. 17, Block 3, Southern Renmin Road, Chengdu 610041, PR China. Electronic address: qinhe@scu.edu.cn.

Abstract

The application of tumor targeting ligands to the treatment of cancer holds promise for improving efficacy and reducing toxicity. LT7 (L(HAIYPRH)) peptide, a phage display-selected peptide, exhibited high binding affinity to transferrin receptor (TfR) overexpressed on tumor cells. However, its in vivo tumor targeting efficiency was impaired due to enzymatic degradation in blood circulation. To improve the stability and targeting ability, a retro-inverso analogue of LT7 peptide, named DT7 peptide (D(HRPYIAH)), was designed for targeted therapy of hepatocellular carcinoma. The result of computer simulation predicted that DT7 bound to TfR protein more efficiently than LT7, and this prediction was confirmed experimentally by surface plasmon resonance (SPR). Ex vivo stability experiment demonstrated that DT7 possessed stronger ability against proteolysis than LT7 in fresh mouse serum. We further prepared DT7-, LT7-, and transferrin (Tf)-modified liposomes (DT7-LIP, LT7-LIP, and Tf-LIP, respectively). DT7-LIP showed a significantly stronger in vitro targeting ability than LT7-LIP and Tf-LIP under normal condition and simulated biological condition. In addition, the in vitro antitumor effect of DTX-loaded DT7-LIP was markedly enhanced in comparison to DTX-loaded LT7-LIP and DTX-loaded Tf-LIP. In vivo imaging indicated that DT7-LIP had better tumor accumulation than LT7-LIP and Tf-LIP. For in vivo antitumor studies, the tumor growth rate of mice treated with DTX-loaded DT7-LIP was significantly inhibited compared to that in mice treated with DTX-loaded LT7-LIP and DTX-loaded Tf-LIP. Overall, this study verified the potential of the stable DT7 peptide in improving the efficacy of docetaxel in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: A phage display library-selected LT7 (L(HAIYPRH)) peptide exhibited high affinity to transferrin receptor (TfR). However, its bioactivity was impaired in vivo as L-peptides are susceptible to degradation by proteolytic enzymes. Here, we designed a retro-inverso peptide DT7(D(HRPYIAH)) and demonstrated its increased serum stability and higher binding affinity to TfR. A stabilized targeted drug delivery system was further constructed by modified DT7 peptide on the surface of liposomes. The data indicated that DT7 peptide-modified liposomes exhibited higher targeting ability in vitro and in vivo. More importantly, DT7-modified liposomes demonstrated positive preclinical significance in enhancing the therapeutic effects against hepatocellular carcinoma.

KEYWORDS:

(D)T7; Active targeting; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Liposomes; Stability

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