Combination of coenzyme Q10-loaded liposomes with ultrasound targeted microbubbles destruction (UTMD) for early theranostics of diabetic nephropathy

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Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is one of the most common and lethal microvascular complications of diabetes. This study aimed to explore whether coenzymeQ10 (CoQ10) as an antioxidant combined with ultrasound-targeted microbubble destruction (UTMD) could reverse the progress of early diabetic nephropathy (DN). CoQ10 has great potential to treat early DN. However, the clinical application of CoQ10 has been limited because of its low aqueous solubility and non-specific distribution. Therefore, CoQ10-loaded liposomes (CoQ10-lip) were prepared and combined with ultrasound microbubbles for the early theranostics of DN. CoQ10-lip exhibited a good round morphology with a diameter of 183 ± 1.7 nm and a negative zeta potential of −25.3 mV, which was capable of prolonging the release of the encapsulated CoQ10. The early DN rat models were induced by streptozotocin (STZ) and confirmed by contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) and 24-h urinary albumin. After the administration of CoQ10-lip combined with the UTMD technique to rats with early DN, the morphology and function of the kidney were evaluated by ultrasonography, histological and molecular analyses. The renal hemodynamics were significantly improved, moreover, 24-h urinary protein, and oxidative stress indexes were modulated after treatment with CoQ10-lip + UTMD indicating recovery of renal function. An elevated level of Nphs2 protein and reduced caspase 3 level indicated the preservation of podocytes and inhibition of cell apoptosis after CoQ10-lip + UTMD treatment. The molecular mechanism was associated with the upregulation of Bcl-2 and the downregulation of Bax. Moreover, the combination of CoQ10-lip and ultrasound microbubbles demonstrated a better protective effect on the damaged kidney than the other groups (free CoQ10 or CoQ10-lip+/− UTMD). Conclusively, CoQ10-lip in combination with ultrasound microbubbles might be a potential strategy to reverse the progress of early DN.

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