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Chemotactic synthetic vesicles: Design and applications in blood-brain barrier crossing

Joseph, A; Contini, C; Cecchin, D; Nyberg, S; Ruiz-Perez, L; Gaitzsch, J; Fullstone, G; ... Battaglia, G; + view all (2017) Chemotactic synthetic vesicles: Design and applications in blood-brain barrier crossing. Science Advances , 3 (8) , Article e1700362. 10.1126/sciadv.1700362. Green open access

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Abstract

In recent years, scientists have created artificial microscopic and nanoscopic self-propelling particles, often referred to as nano- or microswimmers, capable of mimicking biological locomotion and taxis. This active diffusion enables the engineering of complex operations that so far have not been possible at the micro- and nanoscale. One of the most promising tasks is the ability to engineer nanocarriers that can autonomously navigate within tissues and organs, accessing nearly every site of the human body guided by endogenous chemical gradients. We report a fully synthetic, organic, nanoscopic system that exhibits attractive chemotaxis driven by enzymatic conversion of glucose. We achieve this by encapsulating glucose oxidase alone or in combination with catalase into nanoscopic and biocompatible asymmetric polymer vesicles (known as polymersomes). We show that these vesicles self-propel in response to an external gradient of glucose by inducing a slip velocity on their surface, which makes them move in an extremely sensitive way toward higher-concentration regions. We finally demonstrate that the chemotactic behavior of these nanoswimmers, in combination with LRP-1 (low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1) targeting, enables a fourfold increase in penetration to the brain compared to nonchemotactic systems.

Type: Article
Title: Chemotactic synthetic vesicles: Design and applications in blood-brain barrier crossing
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700362
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1700362
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2017 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL > School of BEAMS
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1569554
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