Dual-peptide functionalized acetalated dextran-based nanoparticles for sequential targeting of macrophages during myocardial infarction†
The advent of nanomedicine has recently started to innovate the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, in particular myocardial infarction. Although current approaches are very promising, there is still an urgent need for advanced targeting strategies. In this work, the exploitation of macrophage recruitment is proposed as a novel and synergistic approach to improve the addressability of the infarcted myocardium achieved by current peptide-based heart targeting strategies. For this purpose, an acetalated dextran-based nanosystem is designed and successfully functionalized with two different peptides, atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and linTT1, which target, respectively, cardiac cells and macrophages associated with atherosclerotic plaques. The biocompatibility of the nanocarrier is screened on both macrophage cell lines and primary macrophages, showing high safety, in particular after functionalization of the nanoparticles’ surface. Furthermore, the system shows higher association versus uptake ratio towards M2-like macrophages (approximately 2-fold and 6-fold increase in murine and human primary M2-like macrophages, respectively, compared to M1-like). Overall, the results demonstrate that the nanosystem has potential to exploit the “hitchhike” effect on M2-like macrophages and potentially improve, in a dual targeting strategy, the ability of the ANP peptide to target infarcted heart.