Theranostics 2019; 9(1):48-64. doi:10.7150/thno.29715

Research Paper

CD44 Assists the Topical Anti-Psoriatic Efficacy of Curcumin-Loaded Hyaluronan-Modified Ethosomes: A New Strategy for Clustering Drug in Inflammatory Skin

Yongtai Zhang*, Qing Xia*, Yanyan Li*, Zehui He*, Zhe Li, Teng Guo, Zhonghua Wu, Nianping Feng

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China
*Authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract

Background: Psoriasis is a common chronic inflammatory skin disease. Its treatment is challenged by the limited amount of drug reaching the inflamed skin. The overexpressed CD44 protein in inflamed psoriatic skin can serve as a potential target of novel active-targeting nanocarriers to increase drug accumulation in the skin.

Methods: Hyaluronic acid (HA) was linked to propylene glycol-based ethosomes by covalent binding to develop a novel topical drug delivery carrier (HA-ES) for curcumin. An imiquimod-induced psoriasis mouse model was established, and curcumin delivery and anti-psoriatic efficacy using HA-ES were compared with those using plain ethosomes (ES).

Results: The HA gel network formed on the surface of HA-ES reduced the leakage and release of poorly water-soluble curcumin. Compared with ES, transdermal curcumin delivery was significantly enhanced by using HA-ES as vehicles; the cumulative transdermal amount and the amount retained in the skin in vitro after 8 h were, respectively, 1.6 and 1.4 times those observed with ES, as well as 3.1 and 3.3 times those observed with a curcumin propylene glycol solution (PGS), respectively. The in vivo psoriatic skin retention of curcumin with HA-ES was 2.3 and 4.0 times that of ES and PGS, respectively. CD44 expression in imiquimod-induced psoriasis-like inflamed skin was 2.7 times that in normal skin. Immunostaining revealed similar results, suggesting that the specific adhesion of HA-ES to CD44 increased drug accumulation in the skin. After topical administration to mice, the HA-ES group showed an alleviation of inflammation symptoms; lower TNF-α, IL-17A, IL-17F, IL-22, and IL-1β mRNA levels; and lower CCR6 protein expression compared to the ES and PGS groups.

Conclusion: We demonstrated increased topical drug delivery of curcumin to inflamed tissues using HA-ES targeting the highly expressed CD44 protein. This innovative strategy could be applied for the development of topical drug delivery systems targeting inflamed skin.

Keywords: nanomedicine, liposomes, transdermal, bioadhesive, targeting

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How to cite this article:
Zhang Y, Xia Q, Li Y, He Z, Li Z, Guo T, Wu Z, Feng N. CD44 Assists the Topical Anti-Psoriatic Efficacy of Curcumin-Loaded Hyaluronan-Modified Ethosomes: A New Strategy for Clustering Drug in Inflammatory Skin. Theranostics 2019; 9(1):48-64. doi:10.7150/thno.29715. Available from http://www.thno.org/v09p0048.htm