Silk fibroin-based embolic agent for transhepatic artery embolization with multiple therapeutic potentials

J Nanobiotechnology. 2023 Aug 19;21(1):278. doi: 10.1186/s12951-023-02032-9.


BACKGROUND: The excellent physicochemical and biomedical properties make silk fibroin (SF) suitable for the development of biomedical materials. In this research, the silk fibroin microspheres (SFMS) were customized in two size ranges, and then carried gold nanoparticles or doxorubicin to evaluate the performance of drug loading and releasing. Embolization efficiency was evaluated in rat caudal artery and rabbit auricular artery, and the in vivo distribution of iodinated SFMS (125I/131I-SFMS) after embolization of rat hepatic artery was dynamically recorded by SPECT. Transhepatic arterial radioembolization (TARE) with 131I-SFMS was performed on rat models with liver cancer. The whole procedure of selective internal radiation was recorded with SPECT/CT, and the therapeutic effects were evaluated with 18 F-FDG PET/CT. Lastly, the enzymatic degradation was recorded and followed with the evaluation of particle size on clearance of sub-micron silk fibroin.

RESULTS: SFMS were of smooth surface and regular shape with pervasive pores on the surface and inside the microspheres, and of suitable size range for TAE. Drug-loading functionalized SFMS with chemotherapy or radio-sensitization, and the enhanced therapeutic effects were proved in treating HUH-7 cells as lasting doxorubicin release or more lethal radiation. For artery embolization, SFMS effectively blocked the blood supply; when 131I-SFMS serving as the embolic agent, the good labeling stability and embolization performance guaranteed the favorable therapeutic effects in treating in situ liver tumor. At the 5th day post TARE with 37 MBq/3 mg 131I-SFMS per mice, tumor activity was quickly inhibited to a comparable glucose metabolism level with surrounding normal liver. More importantly, for the fragments of biodegradable SFMS, smaller sized SF (< 800 nm) metabolized in gastrointestinal tract and excreted by the urinary system, while SF (> 800 nm) entered the liver within 72 h for further metabolism.

CONCLUSION: The feasibility of SFMS as degradable TARE agent for liver cancer was primarily proved as providing multiple therapeutic potentials.

PMID:37598140 | PMC:PMC10439629 | DOI:10.1186/s12951-023-02032-9


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