There is increasing evidence that the Myocardin-related transcription factor/Serum response factor (MRTF/SRF) pathway plays a key role in fibroblast activation and that knocking down MRTF can lead to reduced scarring and fibrosis. Here, we have developed a receptor-targeted liposome-peptide-siRNA nanoparticle as a non-viral delivery system for MRTF-B siRNA in conjunctival fibrosis. Using 50 nM siRNA, the MRTF-B gene was efficiently silenced by 76% and 72% with LYR and LER nanoparticles, respectively. The silencing efficiency was low when non-targeting peptides or siRNA alone or liposome-siRNA alone were used. LYR and LER nanoparticles also showed higher silencing efficiency than PEGylated LYR-P and LER-P nanoparticles. The nanoparticles were not cytotoxic using different liposomes, targeting peptides, and 50 nM siRNA. Three-dimensional fibroblast-populated collagen matrices were also used as a functional assay to measure contraction in vitro, and showed that MRTF-B LYR nanoparticles completely blocked matrix contraction after a single transfection treatment. In conclusion, this is the first study to develop and show that receptor-targeted liposome-peptide-siRNA nanoparticles represent an efficient and safe non-viral siRNA delivery system that could be used to prevent fibrosis after glaucoma filtration surgery and other contractile scarring conditions in the eye.
Yu-Wai-Man, C., Tagalakis, A., Manunta, M. D., Bailly, M., Hart, S. L., & Khaw, P. T. (2016). Receptor-targeted liposome-peptide-siRNA nanoparticles represent a novel and efficient therapeutic approach to prevent conjunctival fibrosis. Scientific Reports, 6, 21881. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep21881