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    CXCR4-targeted liposomal mediated co-delivery of pirfenidone and AMD3100 for the treatment of TGFβ-induced HSC-T6 cells activation

    Ullah A, Wang K, Wu P, Oupicky D, Sun M
    Int J Nanomedicine. 2019; 14: 2927–2944.

    Background: Liver fibrosis is a chronic liver disease associated with an excessive accumulation of extracellualr matrix (ECM) proteins which ultimately lead to cirrohosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Purpose: Liver fibrosis therapies that use combination approaches with the ability to affect multiple disease pathways have proven higher efficacies. This study aimed at optimizing and characterizing the co-encapsulation of pirfenidone (PF) and AMD3100 (AMD) into CXCR4-targeted combination liposomes (CTC liposome) for CXCR4 targeting, and the inhibition of major molecular culprits ie α-SMA, CXCR4, TGFβ, and P-p38 involved in liver fibrosis in-vitro. Methods: The CTC liposomes were prepared using the thin-film hydration method. The concentration of encapsulated AMD and PF was measured by HPLC and UV spectrophotometry, respectively. Tramsmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to determine the liposomal morphology. The CXCR4 targeting ability was determined by CXCR4 redistribution assay. Confocal microscopy and flowcytometry were used to determine the CXCR4 mediated cell uptake. The apoptosis inducing and protein downreguating ability of CTC liposomes were determined by apoptosis assay and western blot analysis, respectively. In-vivo biodistribution and Hoechst staining were used to confirm the feasibility of CTC liposome for the in-vivo applications and drug targeted accumulation, respectively. Results: The TEM studies revealed that CTC liposomes were spherical in shape. The cumulative release of AMD and PF from CTC liposome was 67% and 84%, respectively, at 48 h. Compared to the free drug counterparts, encapsulated drugs displayed higher cell viability. The CXCR4 redistribution assay confirmed the CXCR4 targeting and antagonistic ability of CTC liposomes. The CTC liposomes were internalized more effectively via caveolae-mediated endocytic pathways. CTC liposomes displayed aggressive apoptosis (87.3%) in TGFβ-induced activated HSC-T6 cells suggesting a propensity to fibrosis regression. Also, CTC liposomes significantly reduced α-SMA (65%), CXCR4 (77%), TGFβ (89%), and P-p38 (66%) expressions, better than free drugs. CTC@IR780 liposomes (CTC liposomes incorporating IR780 dye) were more accumulated in fibrotic livers compared to free IR780, as judged by in-vivo imaging, biodistribution analysis, and Hoechst staining. These findings suggest that this simple and stable CTC liposomal system holds a great promise for the treatment and prevention of liver fibrosis. Keywords: AMD3100, pirfenidone, liposome, liver fibrosis