Oral delivery of lipid nanoparticles effective for ulcerative colitis in mice

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

August 29, 2022 -- Georgia State University researchers have discovered a new way to treat ulcerative colitis -- oral delivery of lipid nanoparticles that target the colon with nucleic acids.

They found that mice with acute ulcerative colitis that orally received novel lipid nanoparticles with interleukin-22 (IL-22) mRNA experienced faster healing than those without the targeted approach (Biomaterials, August 3, 2022).

Many treatments for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), such as ulcerative colitis, are delivered directly into the bloodstream and cause severe short- or long-term side effects. IL-22, on the other hand, regulates cell stability and promotes wound healing during intestinal inflammation. It protects against proinflammatory mediators and is strongly associated with genes susceptible to IBD.

For this study, the researchers included lipid nanoparticles used in previous studies: phosphatidic acid, monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG), and digalactosyldiacylglycerol (DGDG). IL-22-mRNA was encapsulated within the new lipid nanoparticles.

The oral delivery method elevated the protein expression level of IL-22 in the colonic tissue of mice and accelerated the healing process, as demonstrated by the recovery of more body weight and colon length. The mice also had reduced histological index, colonic myeloperoxidase activity, fecal lipocalin concentration, and mRNA expression levels of proinflammatory cytokines.

The results suggest that the reversely engineered lipid nanoparticles are an effective mRNA delivery platform for treating ulcerative colitis, according to the researchers.

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