07 August 2015
Tuberculosis (TB) is still a major public health issue in developing countries, and its chemotherapy is compromised by poor drug compliance and severe side effects. This study aimed to synthesize and characterize new multimodal PEGylated liposomes encapsulated with clinically commonly used anti-TB drugs with linkage to small interfering RNA (siRNA) against transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1). The novel NP-siRNA liposomes could target THP-1-derived human macrophages that were the host cells of mycobacterium infection. The biological effects of the NP-siRNA liposomes were evaluated on cell cycle distribution, apoptosis, autophagy, and the gene silencing efficiency of TGF-β1 siRNA in human macrophages. We also explored the proteomic responses to the newly synthesized NP-siRNA liposomes using the stable isotope labeling with amino acids in cell culture approach. The results showed that the multifunctional PEGylated liposomes were successfully synthesized and chemically characterized with a mean size of 265.1 nm. The novel NP-siRNA liposomes functionalized with the anti-TB drugs and TGF-β1 siRNA were endocytosed efficiently by human macrophages as visualized by transmission electron microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Furthermore, the liposomes showed a low cytotoxicity toward human macrophages. There was no significant effect on cell cycle distribution and apoptosis in THP-1-derived macrophages after drug exposure at concentrations ranging from 2.5 to 62.5 μg/mL. Notably, there was a 6.4-fold increase in the autophagy of human macrophages when treated with the NP-siRNA liposomes at 62.5 μg/mL. In addition, the TGF-β1 and nuclear factor-κB expression levels were downregulated by the NP-siRNA liposomes in THP-1-derived macrophages. The Ingenuity Pathway Analysis data showed that there were over 40 signaling pathways involved in the proteomic responses to NP-siRNA liposome exposure in human macrophages, with 160 proteins mapped. The top five canonical signaling pathways were eukaryotic initiation factor 2 signaling, actin cytoskeleton signaling, remodeling of epithelial adherens junctions, epithelial adherens junction signaling, and Rho GDP-dissociation inhibitor signaling pathways. Collectively, the novel synthetic targeting liposomes represent a promising delivery system for anti-TB drugs to human macrophages with good selectivity and minimal cytotoxicity.