Nanoparticles target intimal macrophages in atherosclerotic lesions

Chathurika S. Dhanasekara, Jia Zhang, Shufang Nie, Guigen Li, Zhaoyang Fan, Shu Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Oxidized phosphatidylcholines (oxPCs) enriched on the oxidized LDL (oxLDL) surface are responsible ligands for binding oxLDL to the CD36 receptor of intimal macrophages in atherosclerotic lesions. We synthesized liposome-like nanoparticles (NPs) using soy phosphatidylcholine and incorporated 1-palmitoyl-2-(4-keto-dodec-3-enedioyl) phosphatidylcholine, a type of oxPCs, on their surface to make ligand-NP (L-NPs). The objectives of this study were to measure and compare their binding affinity to and uptake by primary mouse and THP-1 derived macrophages, and to determine their target specificity to intimal macrophages in aortic lesions in LDL receptor null (LDLr−/−) mice. All in vitro data demonstrate that L-NPs had a high binding affinity to macrophage CD36 receptor. L-NPs had 1.4-fold higher accumulation in aortic lesion areas than NPs. L-NPs co-localized with intimal macrophages and CD36 receptors in the aortic lesions. This target delivery approach may portend a breakthrough in molecular imaging and targeted treatment of atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102346
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • 1-Palmitoyl-2-(4-keto-dodec-3-enedioyl) phosphatidylcholine
  • Atherosclerosis
  • CD36 receptors
  • Macrophages
  • Nanoparticles
  • Targeted delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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