Research ArticleNanomedicine

MK2 inhibitory peptide delivered in nanopolyplexes prevents vascular graft intimal hyperplasia

Science Translational Medicine  10 Jun 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 291, pp. 291ra95
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa4549

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Abstract

Autologous vein grafts are commonly used for coronary and peripheral artery bypass but have a high incidence of intimal hyperplasia (IH) and failure. We present a nanopolyplex (NP) approach that efficiently delivers a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)–activated protein (MAPKAP) kinase 2 inhibitory peptide (MK2i) to graft tissue to improve long-term patency by inhibiting pathways that initiate IH. In vitro testing in human vascular smooth muscle cells revealed that formulation into MK2i-NPs increased cell internalization, endosomal escape, and intracellular half-life of MK2i. This efficient delivery mechanism enabled MK2i-NPs to sustain potent inhibition of inflammatory cytokine production and migration in vascular cells. In intact human saphenous vein, MK2i-NPs blocked inflammatory and migratory signaling, as confirmed by reduced phosphorylation of the posttranscriptional gene regulator heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A0, the transcription factor cAMP (adenosine 3′,5′-monophosphate) element–binding protein, and the chaperone heat shock protein 27. The molecular effects of MK2i-NPs caused functional inhibition of IH in human saphenous vein cultured ex vivo. In a rabbit vein transplant model, a 30-min intraoperative graft treatment with MK2i-NPs significantly reduced in vivo IH 28 days posttransplant compared with untreated or free MK2i–treated grafts. The decrease in IH in MK2i-NP–treated grafts in the rabbit model also corresponded with decreased cellular proliferation and maintenance of the vascular wall smooth muscle cells in a more contractile phenotype. These data indicate that nanoformulated MK2 inhibitors are a promising strategy for preventing graft failure.

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