Transport of nanoparticles across pulmonary surfactant monolayer: a molecular dynamics study
Pulmonary nanodrug delivery is an emerging concept, especially for targeted lung cancer therapy. Once inhaled, the nanoparticles (NPs) acting as drug carriers need to efficiently cross the pulmonary surfactant monolayer (PSM) of lung alveoli, which act as the first barrier for external particles entering the lung. Herein, by performing molecular dynamics simulations, we study how inhaled NPs interact with the PSM, particularly focusing on the transport of NPs with different properties across the PSM. While hydrophilic NPs translocate directly across the PSM, transport of hydrophobic NPs is achieved as the PSM wraps them. Intriguingly, when hydrophilic NPs are decorated with lipid molecules (LCNPs), they are wrapped by the PSM efficiently with mild PSM perturbation. Moreover, the structure formed is like a vesicle, which will likely fuse with cell membranes to accomplish the transport of hydrophilic NPs into secondary organs. This behavior makes the LCNP a prospective candidate for pulmonary nanodrug delivery. Herein, the effects of the physical properties of LCNPs on their transport are investigated. Increasing the LCNP size promotes its wrapping by reducing the PSM bending energy. The binding energy that drives transport can be strengthened by increasing the lipid coating density and the lipid tail length, both of which also reduce the risk of PSM rupture during transport. These results should help researchers understand how to better use surface decorations to achieve efficient pulmonary entry, which may provide useful guidance for the design of nano-based platforms for inhaled drug delivery.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2017 PCCP HOT Articles