American Chemical Society
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Enzyme- and pH-Responsive Microencapsulated Nanogels for Oral Delivery of siRNA to Induce TNF‑α Knockdown in the Intestine

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-01-26, 00:00 authored by Jennifer M. Knipe, Laura E. Strong, Nicholas A. Peppas
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) manifest from excessive intestinal inflammation. Local delivery of siRNA that targets these inflammatory cytokines would provide a novel treatment approach. Microencapsulated nanogels are designed and validated as platforms for oral delivery of siRNA targeting TNF-α, a common clinical target of IBD treatments. The preferred platform was designed to (i) protect siRNA-loaded nanogels from the harsh acidic environment of the upper GI tract and (ii) enzymatically degrade and release the nanogels once the carrier has reached the intestinal region. This platform consists of microgels composed of poly­(methacrylic acid-co-N-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone) (P­[MAA-co-NVP]) cross-linked with a trypsin-degradable peptide linker. The P­(MAA-co-NVP) backbone is designed to collapse around and protect encapsulated nanogel from degradation at the low pH levels seen in the stomach (pH 2–4). At pH levels of 6–7.5, as typically observed in the intestine, the P­(MAA-co-NVP) matrix swells, potentially facilitating diffusion of intestinal fluid and degradation of the matrix by intestinal enzymes such as trypsin, thus “freeing” the therapeutic nanogels for delivery and cellular uptake within the intestine. TNF-α siRNA-loaded nanogels released from this platform were capable of inducing potent knockdown of secreted TNF-α levels in murine macrophages, further validating the potential for this approach to be used for the treatment of IBD.