Researchers at the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University in the US, and Southwest University in China, have designed a novel nanoparticle capable of blocking expression of a glycoprotein that promotes intestinal inflammation. These nanoparticles could be a safe and effective new treatment for patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
The researchers designed the nanoparticles to reduce the expression of the cell-surface glycoprotein, CD98, which plays a key role in the inflammatory response. The results of the study were published in the journal, Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces.
“Our results suggest this nanoparticle could potentially be used as an efficient therapeutic treatment for inflammation,” said Didier Merlin, professor in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State. “We targeted CD98 because we determined in a previous study that CD98 is highly over-expressed in activated immune cells involved in IBD.”
It’s estimated that in the US alone, up to 1.3 million people are affected by inflammatory bowel disease. Multiple conditions – including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease – fall under the broad category of inflammatory bowel disease, which is characterized by chronic or recurring intestinal inflammation.
Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease include diarrhea, cramping, fever, loss of appetite and weight loss – all of which tend to get worse over time. When medication is no longer sufficient to manage the symptoms of the disease, patients must undergo surgery.
The researchers constructed the nanoparticles by combining CD98 small interfering RNA (siRNA) – short strands of nucleic acid capable of blocking CD98 gene expression – with urocanic acid-modified chitosan (UAC). The UAC allows the CD98 to be delivered into macrophage cells, thereby reducing the inflammation response. The researchers found that the nanoparticles were an optimal size, and were not cytotoxic to macrophages or the epithelial cells lining the colon.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, patients with inflammatory bowel disease are at an increased risk of colon cancer. The new study suggests that nanoparticle therapy could be a viable alternative to currently available drugs, which are plagued by serious side effects.