Flow shear stress differentially regulates endothelial uptake of nanocarriers targeted to distinct epitopes of PECAM-1

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Targeting nanocarriers (NC) to endothelial cell adhesion molecules including Platelet-Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 (PECAM-1 or CD31) improves drug delivery and pharmacotherapy of inflammation, oxidative stress, thrombosis and ischemia in animal models. Recent studies unveiled that hydrodynamic conditions modulate endothelial endocytosis of NC targeted to PECAM-1, but the specificity and mechanism of effects of flow remain unknown. Here we studied the effect of flow on endocytosis by human endothelial cells of NC targeted by monoclonal antibodies Ab62 and Ab37 to distinct epitopes on the distal extracellular domain of PECAM. Flow in the range of 1–8 dyn/cm2, typical for venous vasculature, stimulated the uptake of spherical Ab/NC (˜ 180 nm diameter) carrying ˜ 50 vs 200 Ab62 and Ab37 per NC, respectively. Effect of flow was inhibited by disruption of cholesterol-rich plasmalemma domains and deletion of PECAM-1 cytosolic tail. Flow stimulated endocytosis of Ab62/NC and Ab37/NC via eliciting distinct signaling pathways mediated by RhoA/ROCK and Src Family Kinases, respectively. Therefore, flow stimulates endothelial endocytosis of Ab/NC in a PECAM-1 epitope specific manner. Using ligands of binding to distinct epitopes on the same target molecule may enable fine-tuning of intracellular delivery based on the hemodynamic conditions in the vascular area of interest.

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