Synthetic polymer nanoparticles (NPs) that bind venomous molecules and neutralize their function in vivo are of significant interest as "plastic antidotes." Recently, procedures to synthesize polymer NPs with affinity for target peptides have been reported. However, the performance of synthetic materials in vivo is a far greater challenge. Particle size, surface charge, and hydrophobicity affect not only the binding affinity and capacity to the target toxin but also the toxicity of NPs and the creation of a "corona" of proteins around NPs that can alter and or suppress the intended performance. Here, we report the design rationale of a plastic antidote for in vivo applications. Optimizing the choice and ratio of functional monomers incorporated in the NP maximized the binding affinity and capacity toward a target peptide. Biocompatibility tests of the NPs in vitro and in vivo revealed the importance of tuning surface charge and hydrophobicity to minimize NP toxicity and prevent aggregation induced by nonspecific interactions with plasma proteins. The toxin neutralization capacity of NPs in vivo showed a strong correlation with binding affinity and capacity in vitro. Furthermore, in vivo imaging experiments established the NPs accelerate clearance of the toxic peptide and eventually accumulate in macrophages in the liver. These results provide a platform to design plastic antidotes and reveal the potential and possible limitations of using synthetic polymer nanoparticles as plastic antidotes.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 3 2012|
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