Folate-targeted nanoparticles show efficacy in the treatment of inflammatory arthritis




To investigate the uptake of a poly(amidoamine) dendrimer (generation 5 [G5]) nanoparticle covalently conjugated to polyvalent folic acid (FA) as the targeting ligand into macrophages, and to investigate the activity of an FA- and methotrexate (MTX)–conjugated dendrimer (G5-FA-MTX) as a therapeutic for the inflammatory disease of arthritis.


In vitro studies were performed in macrophage cell lines and in isolated mouse macrophages to check the cellular uptake of fluorescence-tagged G5-FA nanoparticles, using flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. In vivo studies were conducted in a rat model of collagen-induced arthritis to evaluate the therapeutic potential of G5-FA-MTX.


Folate-targeted dendrimer bound and internalized in a receptor-specific manner into both folate receptor β–expressing macrophage cell lines and primary mouse macrophages. The conjugate G5-FA-MTX acted as a potent antiinflammatory agent and reduced arthritis-induced parameters of inflammation such as ankle swelling, paw volume, cartilage damage, bone resorption, and body weight decrease.


The use of folate-targeted nanoparticles to specifically target MTX into macrophages may provide an effective clinical approach for antiinflammatory therapy in rheumatoid arthritis.