Pulmonary drug delivery presents a unique opportunity to target lower airway inflammation, which is often characterized by the massive recruitment of neutrophils from blood. However, specific therapies are lacking modulation of airway neutrophil function, and difficult challenges must be overcome to achieve therapeutic efficacy against pulmonary inflammation, notably drug hydrophobicity, mucociliary and macrophage-dependent clearance, and high extracellular protease burden. Here, we present a multistage, aerodynamically favorable delivery platform that uses extracellular proteolysis to its advantage to deliver nanoparticle-embedded hydrophobic drugs to neutrophils within the lower airways. Our design consists of a self-regulated nanoparticle-in-microgel system, in which microgel activation is triggered by extracellular elastase (degranulated by inflammatory neutrophils), and nanoparticles are loaded with Nexinhib20, a potent neutrophil degranulation inhibitor. Successful in vivo delivery of Nexinhib20 to the airways and into neutrophils promoted resolution of the inflammatory response by dampening neutrophil recruitment and degranulation, proinflammatory cytokine production in both airway and systemic compartments, as well as the presence of neutrophil-derived pathological extracellular vesicles in the lung fluid. Our findings showcase a new platform that overcomes challenges in pulmonary drug delivery and allows customization to match the proteolytic footprint of given diseases.
Joscelyn C. Mejías, Osric A. Forrest, Camilla Margaroli, David A. Frey Rubio, Liliana Viera, Jindong Li, Xin Xu, Amit Gaggar, Rabindra Tirouvanziam, Krishnendu Roy
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.