Recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA) is the only thrombolytic agent that has been approved by the FDA for treatment of ischemic stroke. However, a high dose intravenous infusion is required to maintain effective drug concentration, owing to the short half-life of the thrombolytic drug, whereas a momentous limitation is the risk of bleeding. We envision a dual targeted strategy for rtPA delivery will be feasible to minimize the required dose of rtPA for treatment. For this purpose, rtPA and fibrin-avid peptide were co-immobilized to poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) magnetic nanoparticles (PMNP) to prepare peptide/rtPA conjugated PMNPs (pPMNP-rtPA). During preparation, PMNP was first surface modified with avidin, which could interact with biotin. This is followed by binding PMNP-avidin with biotin-PEG-rtPA (or biotin-PEG-peptide), which was prepared beforehand by binding rtPA (or peptide) to biotin-PEG-maleimide while using click chemistry between maleimide and the single –SH group in rtPA (or peptide). The physicochemical property characterization indicated the successful preparation of the magnetic nanoparticles with full retention of rtPA fibrinolysis activity, while biological response studies underlined the high biocompatibility of all magnetic nanoparticles from cytotoxicity and hemolysis assays in vitro. The magnetic guidance and fibrin binding effects were also confirmed, which led to a higher thrombolysis rate in vitro using PMNP-rtPA or pPMNP-rtPA when compared to free rtPA after static or dynamic incubation with blood clots. Using pressure-dependent clot lysis model in a flow system, dual targeted pPMNP-rtPA could reduce the clot lysis time for reperfusion by 40% when compared to free rtPA at the same drug dosage. From in vivo targeted thrombolysis in a rat embolic model, pPMNP-rtPA was used at 20% of free rtPA dosage to restore the iliac blood flow in vascular thrombus that was created by injecting a blood clot to the hind limb area.
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