Role of scavenger receptors in peptide-based delivery of plasmid DNA across a blood–brain barrier model

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Graphical abstractReceptor-mediated transcytosis remains a major route for drug delivery across the blood–brain barrier (BBB). PepFect 32 (PF32), a peptide-based vector modified with targeting ligand (Angiopep-2) binding to low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein-1 (LRP-1), was previously found to be a promising vector for plasmid delivery across an in vitro model of the BBB. Cellular uptake of PF32/plasmid DNA (pDNA) complexes was speculated the internalization via LRP-1 receptor. In this study, we prove that PF32/pDNA nanocomplexes are not only transported into brain endothelial cells via LRP-1 receptor-mediated endocytosis, but also via scavenger receptor class A and B (SCARA3, SCARA5, and SR-BI)-mediated endocytosis. SCARA3, SCARA5, and SR-BI are found to be expressed in the brain endothelial cells. Inhibition of these receptors leads to a reduction of the transfection. In conclusion, this study shows that scavenger receptors also play an essential role in the cellular uptake of the PF32/pDNA nanocomplexes.

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