Int J Mol Sci. 2022 May 12;23(10):5420. doi: 10.3390/ijms23105420.
BACKGROUND: Silymarin (SIL) has long been utilized to treat a variety of liver illnesses, but due to its poor water solubility and low membrane permeability, it has a low oral bioavailability, limiting its therapeutic potential.
AIM: Design and evaluate hepatic-targeted delivery of safe biocompatible formulated SIL-loaded chitosan nanoparticles (SCNPs) to enhance SIL’s anti-fibrotic effectiveness in rats with CCl4-induced liver fibrosis.
METHODS: The SCNPs and chitosan nanoparticles (CNPs) were prepared by ionotropic gelation technique and are characterized by physicochemical parameters such as particle size, morphology, zeta potential, and in vitro release studies. The therapeutic efficacy of successfully formulated SCNPs and CNPs were subjected to in vivo evaluation studies. Rats were daily administered SIL, SCNPs, and CNPs orally for 30 days.
RESULTS: The in vivo study revealed that the synthesized SCNPs demonstrated a significant antifibrotic therapeutic action against CCl4-induced hepatic injury in rats when compared to treated groups of SIL and CNPs. SCNP-treated rats had a healthy body weight, with normal values for liver weight and liver index, as well as significant improvements in liver functions, inflammatory indicators, antioxidant pathway activation, and lipid peroxidation reduction. The antifibrotic activities of SCNPs were mediated by suppressing the expression of the main fibrosis mediators TGFβR1, COL3A1, and TGFβR2 by boosting the hepatic expression of protective miRNAs; miR-22, miR-29c, and miR-219a, respectively. The anti-fibrotic effects of SCNPs were supported by histopathology and immunohistochemistry (IHC) study.
CONCLUSIONS: According to the above results, SCNPs might be the best suitable carrier to target liver cells in the treatment of liver fibrosis.