Investigation of Vesicular-Mediated Transport of Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1-Targeted Carriers for Treatment of Lysosomal Storage Disorders

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Numerous cellular processes and therapeutic interventions rely on vesicular-mediated endocytosis to gain entry into cells and sub-cellular compartments, as well as for transcellular transport across biological barriers such as found at the blood-brain interface. Yet, endocytic behavior can be altered in disease, representing an additional hurdle in the design of effective therapeutic strategies. Lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs), characterized by lysosomal accumulation of undigested substrates as a result of deficient enzymatic activity, illustrate this paradigm. Currently, intravenous infusion of recombinant lysosomal enzymes to replace those deficient is the standard clinical approach for these disorders. However, clathrin-mediated endocytosis utilized by replacement enzymes for cellular uptake and lysosomal trafficking is altered, thereby impacting treatment efficacy as recently demonstrated in acid sphingomyelinase-deficient type A Niemann-Pick disease (NPD). Therefore, alternative means to bypass defunct routes is warranted. Therapeutic delivery via polymer nanocarriers targeting intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (anti-ICAM NCs), a cell-surface molecule overexpressed in endothelial and subjacent tissue cells during inflammation, such as in LSDs, represents a viable option since it permits uptake, intra- and transcellular transport via a unique endocytic route called the cell adhesion molecule (CAM) pathway. In this dissertation, cell culture and animal models were used to examine the (1) endocytic activity of the CAM pathway and other clathrin-independent routes in type A NPD, (2) role of targeting valency (i.e., density of ICAM-1-targeting molecules on the NC surface) in regulating the CAM pathway, and (3) effects induced via engagement of ICAM-1 on cells by anti-ICAM NCs. The results herein demonstrate the CAM pathway is more active in diseased cells compared to other classical endocytic pathways, making it the most amenable route for therapeutic enzyme replacement. Further, modulating targeting valency of NCs optimized this strategy for enhanced enzyme delivery to the brain, a target organ for type A NPD. Lastly, anti-ICAM NCs attenuated endothelial release of soluble ICAM-1, an inflammatory regulator, representing a secondary benefit of this system. Overall, this work validates utility of anti-ICAM NCs for enzyme replacement to treat NPD and likely other LSDs, and provides insight into biological processes and design parameters that influence the therapeutic efficacy of targeted drug carriers.