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Chondroitin Sulfate-Based pH-Sensitive Polymer-Modified Liposomes for Intracellular Antigen Delivery and Induction of Cancer Immunity

Minori Okubo, Maiko Miyazaki, Eiji Yuba, Atsushi Harada
Bioconjugate Chemistry 2019 April 4
Induction of cancer-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes is crucially important to complement therapeutic effects of immune checkpoint inhibitors and to achieve efficient cancer immunotherapy. To induce cancer-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes, cancer antigen carriers must have multiple functions to deliver cancer antigens to antigen presenting cells, release antigens into cytosol, and promote the maturation of these cells. We earlier achieved cytosolic delivery of antigens and induction of antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes using carboxylated polyglycidol or polysaccharide derivative-modified liposomes that can induce membrane fusion with endosomes in response to weakly acidic pH. Furthermore, pH-sensitivity and adjuvant properties of these polymers were enhanced strongly by introduction of hydrophobic carboxylated units to dextran. Against our expectations, these polymer-modified liposomes only slightly induce cancer immunity, probably because of the high hydrophobicity of spacer units. This study used a polysaccharide with charged groups (chondroitin sulfate) instead of dextran as a backbone to reduce hydrophobicity. Chondroitin sulfate derivative-modified liposomes showed almost equal pH-sensitivity to that of dextran derivative-modified liposomes and achieved selective delivery to dendritic cells, whereas dextran derivative-modified liposomes were highly taken up by both dendritic cells and fibroblasts. Chondroitin sulfate derivative-modified liposomes delivered model antigenic proteins into cytosol of dendritic cells and promoted cytokine production from the cells, leading to tumor regression on tumor-bearing mice after subcutaneous administration. Results demonstrate that charged group-having polysaccharide as a backbone can be used in an effective strategy to balance strong hydrophobicity of spacer units with their utilization for immunity-inducing systems.


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