Abstract: Medical treatment options for central nervous system (CNS) diseases are limited due to the inability of most therapeutic agents to penetrate the blood–brain barrier (BBB). Although a variety of approaches have been investigated to open the BBB for facilitation of drug delivery, none has achieved clinical applicability. Mounting evidence suggests that ultrasound in combination with microbubbles might be useful for delivery of drugs to the brain through transient opening of the BBB. This technique offers a unique non-invasive avenue to deliver a wide range of drugs to the brain and promises to provide treatments for CNS disorders with the advantage of being able to target specific brain regions without unnecessary drug exposure. If this method could be applied for a range of different drugs, new CNS therapeutic strategies could emerge at an accelerated pace that is not currently possible in the field of drug discovery and development. This article reviews both the merits and potential risks of this new approach. It assesses methods used to verify disruption of the BBB with MRI and examines the results of studies aimed at elucidating the mechanisms of opening the BBB with ultrasound and microbubbles. Possible interactions of this novel delivery method with brain disease, as well as safety aspects of BBB disruption with ultrasound and microbubbles are addressed. Initial translational research for treatment of brain tumors and Alzheimer’s disease is presented.
Abstract: Biological proteins have unlimited potential for use as pharmaceutical products due to their various biological activities, which include non-toxicity, biocompatibility, and biodegradability. Recent scientific advances allow for the development of novel innovative protein-based products that draw on the quality of their innate biological activities. Some of them hold promising potential for novel therapeutic agents/devices for addressing hepatic diseases such as hepatitis, fibrosis, and hepatocarcinomas. This review attempts to provide an overview of the development of protein-based products that take advantage of their biological activity for medication, and discusses possibilities for the therapeutic potential of protein-based products produced through different approaches to specifically target the liver (or hepatic cells: hepatocytes, hepatic stellate cells, liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, and Kupffer cells) in the treatment of hepatic diseases.
Abstract: In this study, two types of biodegradable polycation (PAsp(DET) homopolymer and PEG-PAsp(DET) copolymer) were applied as vectors for inhalable dry gene powders prepared by spray freeze drying (SFD). The prepared dry gene powders had spherical and porous structures with a 5~10-μm diameter, and the integrity of plasmid DNA could be maintained during powder production. Furthermore, it was clarified that PEG-PAsp(DET)-based dry gene powder could more sufficiently maintain both the physicochemical properties and in vitro gene transfection efficiencies of polyplexes reconstituted after powder production than PAsp(DET)-based dry gene powder. From an in vitro inhalation study using an Andersen cascade impactor, it was demonstrated that the addition of l-leucine could markedly improve the inhalation performance of dry powders prepared by SFD. Following pulmonary delivery to mice, both PAsp(DET)- and PEG-PAsp(DET)-based dry gene powders could achieve higher gene transfection efficiencies in the lungs compared with a chitosan-based dry gene powder previously reported by us.
Abstract: Methylated poly(l-histidine) (PLH-Me), our original polypeptide, has controlled the contents of dimethylimidazolium, τ/π-methylimidazole and imidazole groups for efficient gene delivery. The screening for the PLH-Me as DNA carrier has been carried out by use of the PLH with 25 mol% (τ-methyl, 16 mol%; π-methyl, 17 mol%; deprotonated imidazole, 41 mol%), 68 mol% (τ-methyl, 16 mol%; π-methyl, 8 mol%; deprotonated imidazole, 8 mol%) and 87 mol% (τ-methyl, 7 mol%; π-methyl, 4 mol%; deprotonated imidazole, 2 mol%) dimethylimidazolium groups, that is, PLH-Me(25), PLH-Me(68) and PLH-Me(87), respectively. The screening of the chemical structure of PLH-Me has been carried out for DNA carrier properties, which are the stability of its DNA polyion complexes and gene expression. The DNA complexes with the 25 mol% and 68 mol% dimethylated PLH-Me possessed almost same ability to retain DNA, as compared with the 87 mol% dimethylated PLH-Me, which was examined by competitive exchange with dextran sulfate. From the gene transfection experiment against HepG2 cells, human hepatoma cell line, the PLH-Me(25)/DNA complex was revealed to mediate highest gene expression. These results suggest that the dimethyl-imidazolium/methylimidazole/imidazole balance of the PLH-Me is important for DNA carrier design.
Abstract: Hydrodynamics-based delivery has been used as an experimental tool to express transgene in small animals. This in vivo gene transfer method is useful for functional analysis of genetic elements, therapeutic effect of oligonucleotides, and cancer cells to establish the metastatic cancer animal model for experimental research. Recent progress in the development of image-guided procedure for hydrodynamics-based gene delivery in large animals directly supports the clinical applicability of this technique. This review summarizes the current status and recent progress in the development of hydrodynamics-based gene delivery and discusses the future directions for its clinical application.
Abstract: Short-term expression of transgenes is one of the problems frequently associated with non-viral in vivo gene transfer. To obtain experimental evidence for the design of sustainable transgene expression systems, the contribution of epigenetic modifications to the decline in transgene expression needs to be investigated. Bisulfite sequencing and reactivation by hydrodynamic injection of isotonic solution were employed to investigate methylation statues of CpG in transiently expressing plasmid, pCMV-Luc, in mouse liver after hydrodynamic delivery. The cytosines of CpGs in the promoter region of pCMV-Luc were methylated in mouse liver, but the methylation was much later than the decline in the expression. The expression from pre-methylated pCMV-Luc was insensitive to reactivation. Neither an inhibitor of DNA methylation nor an inhibitor of histone deacetylation had significant effects on transgene expression after hydrodynamic injection of pCMV-Luc. Partial hepatectomy, which reduces the transgene expression from the non-integrated vector into the genome, significantly reduced the transgene expression of human interferon γ from a long-term expressing plasmid pCpG-Huγ, suggesting that the CpG-reduced plasmid was not significantly integrated into the genomic DNA. These results indicate that the CpG-reduced plasmids achieve prolonged transgene expression without integration into the host genome, although the methylation status of CpG sequences in plasmids will not be associated with the prolonged expression.