Targeted pathological collagen delivery of sustained-release rapamycin to prevent heterotopic ossification

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Science Advances  29 Apr 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 18, eaay9526
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay9526


Heterotopic ossification (HO) in connective tissues like tendons and ligaments severely damages tissue structure. The pathogenesis of HO remains unclear but may involve mTOR. The results presented here indicate that tendon stem/progenitor cells do not undergo osteochondrogenic differentiation when mTOR signaling is inactivated by gene knockout or rapamycin (RAPA) treatment. Meanwhile, it is necessary to deliver RAPA to the injured sites and avoid disturbing the normal tendon. A RAPA delivery system, developed using collagen hybrid peptide (CHP) to modify the surface of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles, targeted RAPA specifically to pathological tendon collagen. The CHP-PLGA-RAPA nanoparticles showed excellent pathological collagen affinity, sustained-release ability, and bioactivity. In a mouse model of tendon HO, CHP-PLGA-RAPA nanoparticles specifically bound to pathological tendon and strongly suppressed HO progression. The mTOR signaling pathway appears to be a viable therapeutic target for tendon HO, and CHP-PLGA nanoparticles may be valuable for the treatment of tendon-related diseases.

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