Pre-administration of PepFect6-microRNA-146a nanocomplexes inhibits inflammatory responses in keratinocytes and in a mouse model of irritant contact dermatitis

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The skin is a difficult to access tissue for efficient delivery of large and/or charged macromolecules, including therapeutic DNA and RNA oligonucleotides. Cell-penetrating peptide PepFect6 (PF6) has been shown to be suitable transport vehicle for siRNAs in cell culture and systemically in vivo in mice. MiR-146a is known as anti-inflammatory miRNA that inhibits multiple factors from the nuclear factor (NF)-κB pathway in various cell types, including keratinocytes. In this study, PF6 was shown to form unimodal nanocomplexes with miR-146a mimic that entered into human primary keratinocytes, where miR-146a inhibited the expression of its direct targets from the NF-κB pathway and the genes known to be activated by NF-κB, C-C motif ligand (CCL)5 and interleukin (IL)-8. The transfection of miR-146a mimic with PF6 was more efficient in sub-confluent keratinocyte cultures, affected keratinocyte proliferation less and had similar effect on cell viability when compared with a lipid based agent. Subcutaneous pre-administration of PF6-miR-146a nanocomplexes attenuated ear-swelling and reduced the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines IL-6, CCL11, CCL24 and C-X-C motif ligand 1 (CXCL1) in a mouse model of irritant contact dermatitis. Our data demonstrates that PF6-miR-146a nanoparticles might have potential in the development of therapeutics to target inflammatory skin diseases.

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