Nanocarrier-mediated inhibition of macrophage migration inhibitory factor attenuates secondary injury after spinal cord injury.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) can lead to permanent motor and sensory deficits. Following the initial traumatic insult, secondary injury mechanisms characterized by persistent heightened inflammation are initiated and lead to continued and pervasive cell death and tissue damage. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as methylprednisolone (MP) used clinically have ambiguous benefits with debilitating side effects. Typically, these drugs are administered systemically at high doses, resulting in toxicity and paradoxically increased inflammation. Furthermore, these drugs have a small time window postinjury (few hours) during which they need to be infused to be effective. As an alternative to MP, we investigated the effect of a small molecule inhibitor (Chicago sky blue, CSB) of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) for treating SCI. The pleiotropic cytokine MIF is known to contribute to upregulation of several pro-inflammatory cytokines in various disease and injury states. In vitro, CSB administration alleviated endotoxin-mediated inflammation in primary microglia and macrophages. Nanocarriers such as liposomes can potentially alleviate systemic side effects of high-dose therapy by enabling site-specific drug delivery to the spinal cord. However, the therapeutic window of 100 nm scale nanoparticle localization to the spinal cord after contusion injury is not fully known. Thus, we first investigated the ability of nanocarriers of different sizes to localize to the injured spinal cord up to 2 weeks postinjury. Results from the study showed that nanocarriers as large as 200 nm in diameter could extravasate into the injured spinal cord up to 96 h postinjury. We then formulated nanocarriers (liposomes) encapsulating CSB and administered them intravenously 48 h postinjury, within the previously determined 96 h therapeutic window. In vivo, in this clinically relevant contusion injury model in rats, CSB administration led to preservation of vascular and white matter integrity, improved wound healing, and an increase in levels of arginase and other transcripts indicative of a resolution phase of wound healing. This study demonstrates the potential of MIF inhibition in SCI and the utility of nanocarrier-mediated drug delivery selectively to the injured cord.
Saxena, T; Loomis, KH; Pai, SB; Karumbaiah, L; Gaupp, E; Patil, K; Patkar, R; Bellamkonda, RV
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