Novel PEGylated Lipid Nanoparticles Have a High Encapsulation Efficiency and Effectively Deliver MRTF-B siRNA in Conjunctival Fibroblasts

Amisha Sanghani, Konstantinos N. Kafetzis, Yusuke Sato, Salsabil Elboraie, Julia Fajardo-Sanchez, Hideyoshi Harashima, Aristides D. Tagalakis*, Cynthia Yu-Wai-Man*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
365 Downloads (Pure)


The master regulator of the fibrosis cascade is the myocardin-related transcription factor/serum response factor (MRTF/SRF) pathway, making it a key target for anti-fibrotic therapeutics. In the past, inhibitors and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) targeting the MRTF-B gene have been deployed to counter fibrosis in the eye, with the latter showing promising results. However, the biggest challenge in implementing siRNA therapeutics is the method of delivery. In this study, we utilised the novel, pH-sensitive, cationic lipid CL4H6, which has previously demonstrated potent targeting of hepatocytes and endosomal escape, to safely and efficiently deliver an MRTF-B siRNA into human conjunctival fibroblasts. We prepared two lipid nanoparticle (LNP) formulations, incorporating targeting cleavable peptide cY in one of them, and measured their physicochemical properties and silencing effect in human conjunctival fibroblasts. Both proved to be non-cytotoxic at a concentration of 50 nM and effectively silenced the MRTF-B gene in vitro, with the targeting cleavable peptide not affecting the silencing efficiency [LNP with cY: 62.1% and 81.5% versus LNP without cY: 77.7% and 80.2%, at siRNA concentrations of 50 nM (p = 0.06) and 100 nM (p = 0.09), respectively]. On the other hand, the addition of the targeting cleavable peptide significantly increased the encapsulation efficiency of the LNPs from 92.5% to 99.3% (p = 0.0005). In a 3D fibroblast-populated collagen matrix model, both LNP formulations significantly decreased fibroblast contraction after a single transfection. We conclude that the novel PEGylated CL4H6-MRTF-B siRNA-loaded LNPs represent a promising therapeutic approach to prevent conjunctival fibrosis after glaucoma filtration surgery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e382
Issue number3
Early online date13 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Mar 2021


  • lipid nanoparticle
  • siRNA
  • targeting peptide
  • glaucoma
  • fibrosis

Research Institutes

  • Health Research Institute

Research Centres

  • Data Science STEM Research Centre


Dive into the research topics of 'Novel PEGylated Lipid Nanoparticles Have a High Encapsulation Efficiency and Effectively Deliver MRTF-B siRNA in Conjunctival Fibroblasts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this