Research Papers:

PLGA nanoparticles modified with a BBB-penetrating peptide co-delivering Aβ generation inhibitor and curcumin attenuate memory deficits and neuropathology in Alzheimer’s disease mice

Na Huang, Shuai Lu, Xiao-Ge Liu, Jie Zhu, Yu-Jiong Wang and Rui-Tian Liu _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:81001-81013. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.20944

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Na Huang1,2,*, Shuai Lu1,*, Xiao-Ge Liu1,3,*, Jie Zhu1, Yu-Jiong Wang2 and Rui-Tian Liu1

1State Key Laboratory of Biochemical Engineering, Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China

2Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education for Protection and Utilization of Special Biological Resources in Western China, Ningxia University, Yinchuan 750021, China

3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Rui-Tian Liu, email: [email protected]

Yu-Jiong Wang, email: [email protected]

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, nanoparticles, β-amyloid, curcumin, peptide

Received: May 19, 2017    Accepted: July 26, 2017    Published: September 15, 2017


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, characterized by the formation of extracellular senile plaques and neuronal loss caused by amyloid β (Aβ) aggregates in the brains of AD patients. Conventional strategies failed to treat AD in clinical trials, partly due to the poor solubility, low bioavailability and ineffectiveness of the tested drugs to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Moreover, AD is a complex, multifactorial neurodegenerative disease; one-target strategies may be insufficient to prevent the processes of AD. Here, we designed novel kind of poly(lactide-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles by loading with Aβ generation inhibitor S1 (PQVGHL peptide) and curcumin to target the detrimental factors in AD development and by conjugating with brain targeting peptide CRT (cyclic CRTIGPSVC peptide), an iron-mimic peptide that targets transferrin receptor (TfR), to improve BBB penetration. The average particle size of drug-loaded PLGA nanoparticles and CRT-conjugated PLGA nanoparticles were 128.6 nm and 139.8 nm, respectively. The results of Y-maze and new object recognition test demonstrated that our PLGA nanoparticles significantly improved the spatial memory and recognition in transgenic AD mice. Moreover, PLGA nanoparticles remarkably decreased the level of Aβ, reactive oxygen species (ROS), TNF-α and IL-6, and enhanced the activities of super oxide dismutase (SOD) and synapse numbers in the AD mouse brains. Compared with other PLGA nanoparticles, CRT peptide modified-PLGA nanoparticles co-delivering S1 and curcumin exhibited most beneficial effect on the treatment of AD mice, suggesting that conjugated CRT peptide, and encapsulated S1 and curcumin exerted their corresponding functions for the treatment.

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