Incorporation of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) enhances nanodelivery of antiretroviral across the blood-brain barrier for treatment of HIV reservoir in brain.
J Control Release. 2020 Sep 30. Epub 2020 Sep 30. PMID: 33010335
Although the newer antiretroviral (ARV) drugs are highly active against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the body compartment, they often fail to effectively tackle the HIV reservoir in the brain because of inefficient penetration to the blood-brain barrier (BBB). In this study, we investigated the potential benefits of incorporating docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid essential for brain development, in lipid nanocarriers for facilitating the BBB passage of an ARV darunavir. The resulting nanocarriers (nanoARVs) containing 5-15% DHA were 90-140 nm in size, had high darunavir payload (~11-13% w/w), good stability and minimal cellular toxicity, and could be further decorated with transferrin (Tf) for Tf-receptor targeting. In BBB models of hCMEC/d3 cells, nanoARVs with higher DHA content achieved increased nanocarrier uptake and up to 8.99-fold higher darunavir permeation than free darunavir. In animals, nanoARVs were able to achieve 3.38-5.93-fold increase in brain darunavir level over free darunavir. Tf-conjugated nanoARVs also achieved significantly higher anti-HIV activity than free darunavir (viral titer 2 to 2.6-fold higher inlatter group). Comparison of DHA incorporation and Tf-receptor targeting showed that while both strategies could enhance the cellular uptake and brain accumulation of the nanocarriers, DHA was more effective (P < 0.05) for improving BBB permeation and brain accumulation of the darunavir payload. Substituting DHA with another oil noticeably reduced the cellular uptake of nanoARVs. Overall, this proof-of-concept study has supported the development of DHA-based nanoARVs as an effective, safe yet technicallysimple strategy to enhance brain delivery of darunavir and potentially other lipophilic ARVs for treatment of HIV reservoir.