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Biomaterials. 2008 Nov;29(33):4429-38. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.08.004. Epub 2008 Aug 28.

TAT-conjugated nanoparticles for the CNS delivery of anti-HIV drugs.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.


We have shown that nanoparticles (NPs) conjugated to trans-activating transcriptor (TAT) peptide bypass the efflux action of P-glycoprotein and increase the transport of the encapsulated ritonavir, a protease inhibitor (PI), across the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) to the central nervous system (CNS). A steady increase in the drug parenchyma/capillary ratio over time without disrupting the BBB integrity suggests that TAT-conjugated NPs are first immobilized in the brain vasculature prior to their transport into parenchyma. Localization of NPs in the brain parenchyma was further confirmed with histological analysis of the brain sections. The brain drug level with conjugated NPs was 800-fold higher than that with drug in solution at two weeks. Drug clearance was seen within four weeks. In conclusion, TAT-conjugated NPs enhanced the CNS bioavailability of the encapsulated PI and maintained therapeutic drug levels in the brain for a sustained period that could be effective in reducing the viral load in the CNS, which acts as a reservoir for the replicating HIV-1 virus.

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