Drug-Integrating Amphiphilic Nanomaterial Assemblies: 1. Spatiotemporal control of cyclosporine delivery and activity using nanomicelles and nanofibrils

Diana Velluto, Damir Bojadzic, Teresa De Toni, Peter Buchwald, Alice A. Tomei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immunomodulatory therapies are limited by unavoidable side effects as well as poor solubility, stability, and pharmacokinetic properties. Nanomaterial-based drug delivery may overcome these limitations by increasing drug solubility, site-targeting, and duration of action. Here, we prepared innovative drug-integrating amphiphilic nanomaterial assemblies (DIANA) with tunable hydrophobicity, size, and morphology, and we evaluated their ability to deliver cyclosporine A (CsA) for immunomodulatory applications. We synthesized amphiphilic block copolymers made of poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(propylene sulfide) (PEG-PPS) and poly(ethylene glycol)-oligo(ethylene sulfide) (PEG-OES) that can self-assemble into solid core nanomicelles (nMIC, with ≈20 nm diameter) and nanofibrils (nFIB, with ≈5 nm diameter and > 500 nm length), respectively. nMIC and nFIB displayed good CsA encapsulation efficiency (up to 4.5 and 2 mg/mL, respectively in aqueous solution), superior to many other solubilization methods, and provided sustained release (>14 and > 7 days for the nMIC and nFIB) without compromising CsA's pharmacological activity. Treatment of insulin-secreting cells with unloaded DIANAs did not impair cell viability and functionality. Both CsA-loaded DIANAs inhibited the proliferation and activation of insulin-reactive cytotoxic T cells in vitro. Subcutaneous injections of CsA-loaded DIANAs in mice provided CsA sustained release, decreasing alloantigen-induced immune responses in the draining lymph node at lower doses and reduced administration frequency than unformulated CsA. While nMIC solubilized higher amounts and provided more sustained release of CsA in vitro, nFIB enhanced cellular uptake and promoted local retention due to slower trafficking in vivo. DIANAs provide a versatile platform for a local immune suppression regimen that can be applied to allogeneic cell transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)955-970
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - Jan 10 2021


  • Block-copolymers
  • Drug delivery
  • Immunosuppression
  • Local immunomodulation
  • Nanomaterials
  • Pancreatic islets
  • Self-assembling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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