Surface-Modified Inhaled Microparticle-Encapsulated Celastrol for Enhanced Efficacy in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

International Journal of Molecular Science 2023 March 8 [Link]

Xuechun Wang, Gautam Chauhan, Alison R L Tacderas, Aaron Muth, Vivek Gupta


Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare and aggressive cancer affecting the pleural lining of the lungs. Celastrol (Cela), a pentacyclic triterpenoid, has demonstrated promising therapeutic potential as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective agent, and anti-cancer agent. In this study, we developed inhaled surface-modified Cela-loaded poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) microparticles (Cela MPs) for the treatment of MPM using a double emulsion solvent evaporation method. The optimized Cela MPs exhibited high entrapment efficiency (72.8 ± 6.1%) and possessed a wrinkled surface with a mean geometric diameter of ~2 µm and an aerodynamic diameter of 4.5 ± 0.1 µm, suggesting them to be suitable for pulmonary delivery. A subsequent release study showed an initial burst release up to 59.9 ± 2.9%, followed by sustained release. The therapeutic efficacy of Cela MPs was evaluated against four mesothelioma cell lines, where Cela MP exhibited significant reduction in IC50 values, and blank MPs produced no toxicity to normal cells. Additionally, a 3D-spheroid study was performed where a single dose of Cela MP at 1.0 µM significantly inhibited spheroid growth. Cela MP was also able to retain the antioxidant activity of Cela only while mechanistic studies revealed triggered autophagy and an induction of apoptosis. Therefore, these studies highlight the anti-mesothelioma activity of Cela and demonstrate that Cela MPs are a promising inhalable medicine for MPM treatment.