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Cross-linked Histone as a Nanocarrier for Gut Delivery of Hydrophobic Cargos

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journal contribution
posted on 04.06.2021, 05:43 authored by Moustafa T. Mabrouk, Huijuan Zhang, Asmaa A. Zidan, Hailey I. Kilian, Wei-Chiao Huang, Dushyant Jahagirdar, Joaquin Ortega, Jun Xia, Jonathan F. Lovell
Delivering hydrophobic molecules through the intestine can be challenging due to limited cargo solubility and the harsh biochemical environment of the stomach. Here, we show that a protein-based nanocarrier system based on the abundant protein histone and the natural cross-linker genipin can deliver hydrophobic cargos, such as dyes and therapeutic molecules, through the gastrointestinal tract. Using hydrophobic near-infrared dyes as model cargos, a panel of potential protein carriers was screened, and histone was identified as the one with the best loading capability. The resulting nanoparticles had a positive ζ potential and were mucoadhesive. Cross-linking of the amine-rich nanocarrier with genipin was particularly effective relative to other proteins and increased the stability of the system during incubation with pepsin. Cross-linking was required for successful delivery of a hydrophobic dye to the colon of mice after oral gavage. To assess the platform for therapeutic delivery, another hydrophobic model compound, curcumin, was delivered using cross-linked histone nanoparticles in a murine colitis model and significantly alleviated the disease. Taken together, these results demonstrate that histone is a cationic, mucoadhesive, and cross-linkable protein nanocarrier that can be considered for oral delivery.