Treatment of experimental murine colitis with CD40 antisense oligonucleotides delivered in amphoteric liposomes

A. Arranz, C. Reinsch, K. A. Papadakis, A. Dieckmann, U. Rauchhaus, A. Androulidaki, V. Zacharioudaki, A. N. Margioris, C. Tsatsanis, S. Panzner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background and aims CD40-CD40L interactions appear to play an important role in the pathogenesis of experimental colitis. We tested the effect and investigated the underlying mechanism of action of systemically administered antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) targeting CD40 formulated in amphoteric liposomes (nov038/CD40). The charge characteristics of the amphoteric liposomes (anionic surface charge at physiological pH that becomes cationic at low pH), facilitate efficient sequestration of the ASO inside the liposomes at low pH and the direction of the carriers towards macrophages and dendritic cells under physiological conditions. Methods Colitis was induced in Balb/c mice using 2,4,6-Trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid (TNBS) and treated with nov038/CD40. Disease was monitored by body weight, histology, cytokine profiling and changes in immune cell populations. CD40 expression on different cell subsets was analyzed by flow cytometry. An antigen challenge model was used to determine neoimmunity under CD40 modulation. Results Administration of nov038/CD40 inhibited the development of TNBS colitis as assessed by weight loss, histology and cytokine profiles; unformulated CD40 ASO or nov038 encapsulating an unrelated ASO (nov038/SCR) were ineffective. The novel agent is potent as it completely suppressed even established colitis with a single treatment and significantly reduced T-cell activation as well as levels of pro-inflammatory mediators in serum. The inhibition of CD40 specifically occurred in macrophages, but not in B-cells. In contrast to prednisolone, standard treatment for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) that is effective in a single administration and involves extensive immunosuppression, nov038/CD40 did not affect the number of B- or Treg cells. Eventually, we observed a largely intact neoimmunity under conditions of a CD40 inhibition. Conclusions Administration of nov038/CD40, but neither naked CD40 ASO nor nov038/SCR, prevents the development and treats established colitis in mice. Delivery of CD40 ASO in nov038 is highly cell-specific as it selectively suppresses CD40 on macrophages, but not on B-cells; the novel agent has strong anti-inflammatory characteristics without being immunosuppressive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-172
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 10 2013


  • Antisense oligonucleotides
  • CD40
  • Cell-specific delivery
  • Crohn's disease
  • Keywords
  • TNBS colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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