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Papers of the Week

Papers: 3 Feb 2024 - 9 Feb 2024

2024 Jan 27




Apoptotic body-inspired nanotherapeutics efficiently attenuate osteoarthritis by targeting BRD4-regulated synovial macrophage polarization.


Xu YD, Liang XC, Li ZP, Wu ZS, Yang J, Jia SZ, Peng R, Li ZY, Wang XH, Luo FJ, Chen JJ, Cheng WX, Zhang P, Zha ZG, Zeng R, Zhang HT


Bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4) is the most well-studied BET protein that is important for the innate immune response. We recently revealed that targeting BRD4 triggers apoptosis in tumor-associated macrophages, but its role in synovial macrophages and joint inflammation is largely unknown. Herein, we demonstrated that BRD4 was highly expressed in the iNOS-positive M1 macrophages in the human and mouse osteoarthritis (OA) synovium, and conditional knockout of BRD4 in the myeloid lineage using Lyz2-cre; BRD4 mice significantly abolished anterior cruciate ligament transection (ACLT)-induced M1 macrophage accumulation and synovial inflammation. Accordingly, we successfully constructed apoptotic body-inspired phosphatidylserine-containing nanoliposomes (PSLs) loaded with the BRD4 inhibitor JQ1 to regulate inflammatory macrophages. JQ1-loaded PSLs (JQ1@PSLs) exhibited a higher cellular uptake by macrophages than fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) in vitro and in vivo, as well as the reduction in proinflammatory M1 macrophage polarization. Intra-articular injections of JQ1@PSLs showed prolonged retention within the joint, and remarkably reduced synovial inflammation and joint pain via suppressing M1 polarization accompanied by reduced TRPA1 expression by targeted inhibition of BRD4 in the macrophages, thus attenuating cartilage degradation during OA development. The results show that BRD4-inhibiting JQ1@PSLs can targeted-modulate macrophage polarization, which opens a new avenue for efficient OA therapy via a “Trojan horse”.