Peptide-guided resiquimod-loaded lignin nanoparticles convert tumor-associated macrophages from M2 to M1 phenotype for enhanced chemotherapy

Patricia Figueiredo, Anni Lepland, Pablo Scodeller, Flavia Fontana, Giulia Torrieri, Mattia Tiboni, Mohammad-Ali Shahbazi, Luca Casettari, Mauri Kostiainen, Jouni Hirvonen, Tambet Teesalu, Hélder A. Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Nanomedicines represent innovative and promising alternative technologies to improve the therapeutic effects of different drugs for cancer ablation. Targeting M2-like tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) has emerged as a favorable therapeutic approach to fight against cancer through the modulation of the tumor microenvironment. However, the immunomodulatory molecules used for this purpose present side effects upon systemic administration, which limits their clinical translation. Here, the biocompatible lignin polymer is used to prepare lignin nanoparticles (LNPs) that carry a dual agonist of the toll-like receptors TLR7/8 (resiquimod, R848). These LNPs are targeted to the CD206-positive M2-like TAMs using the “mUNO” peptide, in order to revert their pro-tumor phenotype into anti-tumor M1-like macrophages in the tumor microenvironment of an aggressive triple-negative in vivo model of breast cancer. Overall, we show that targeting the resiquimod (R848)-loaded LNPs to the M2-like macrophages, using very low doses of R848, induces a profound shift in the immune cells in the tumor microenvironment towards an anti-tumor immune state, by increasing the representation of M1-like macrophages, cytotoxic T cells, and activated dendritic cells. This effect consequently enhances the anticancer effect of the vinblastine (Vin) when co-administered with R848-loaded LNPs to the M2-like macrophages, using very low doses of R848, induces a profound shift in the immune cells in the tumor microenvironment towards an anti-tumor immune state, by increasing the representation of M1-like macrophages, cytotoxic T cells, and activated dendritic cells. This effect consequently enhances the anticancer effect of the vinblastine (Vin) when co-administered with R848-loaded LNPs. Statement of significance Lignin-based nanoparticles (LNPs) were successfully developed to target a potent TLR7/8 agonist (R848) of the tumor microenvironment (TME). This was achieved by targeting the mannose receptor (CD206) on the tumor supportive (M2-like) macrophages with the "mUNO" peptide, to reprogram them into an antitumor (M1-like) phenotype for enhanced chemotherapy. LNPs modified the biodistribution of the R848, and enhanced its accumulation and efficacy in shifting the immunological profile of the cells in the TME, which was not achieved by systemic administration of free R848. Moreover, a reduction in the tumor volumes was observed at lower equivalent doses of R848 compared with other studies. Therefore, the co-administration of R848@LNPs is a promising chemotherapeutic application in aggressive tumors, such as the triple-negative breast cancer. (c) 2020 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Volume133
Pages (from-to)231-243
Number of pages13
ISSN1878-7568
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology
  • lignin nanoparticles
  • resiquimod
  • macrophage repolarization
  • mannose receptor
  • mUNO
  • DRUG-DELIVERY
  • POLARIZATION
  • OPPORTUNITIES
  • NANOMEDICINE
  • CHALLENGES
  • 317 Pharmacy
  • 318 Medical biotechnology
  • lignin nanoparticles
  • resiquimod
  • macrophage repolarization
  • mannose receptor
  • mUNO
  • DRUG-DELIVERY
  • POLARIZATION
  • OPPORTUNITIES
  • NANOMEDICINE
  • CHALLENGES

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