Soujanya Kona

Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering



First Advisor

Kytai Truong Nguyen


Pathological conditions like coronary artery disease, acute myocardial infarction, stroke, and peripheral artery diseases as well as cardiovascular interventions used in the treatment of coronary artery diseases such as angioplasty and stenting, damage/injure the blood vessel wall, leading to inflamed or activated endothelial cells that have been implicated in events leading to thrombosis, inflammation, and restenosis. Oral administration of anti-coagulant and anti-inflammatory drugs causes systemic toxicity, bleeding, patient incompliance, and inadequate amounts of drugs at the injured area. Though drug-eluting stents have shown therapeutic benefits, complications such as in-stent restenosis and late thrombosis still remain and are a cause for concern. Rapid growth in the field of nanotechnology and nanoscience in recent years has paved the way for new targeted and controlled drug delivery strategies. In this perspective, the development of biodegradable nanoparticles for targeted intracellular drug delivery to the inflamed endothelial cells may offer an improved avenue for treatment of cardiovascular diseases.The major objective of this research was to develop "novel multi-ligand nanoparticles," as drug carriers that can efficiently target and deliver therapeutic agents to the injured/inflamed vascular cells under dynamic flow conditions. Our approach mimics the natural binding ability of platelets to injured/activated endothelial cells through glycoprotein Ib (GPIb) bound to P-selectin expressed on inflamed endothelial cells and to the subendothelium through GPIb binding to von Willebrand factor (vWF) deposited onto the injured vascular wall. Our design also exploits the natural cell membrane translocation ability of the internalizing cell peptide - trans-activating transcriptor (TAT) to enhance the nanoparticle uptake by the targeted cells. Our hypothesis is that these multi-ligand nanoparticles would show an increased accumulation at the injury site since GPIb specially binds to both P-selectin expressed on damaged endothelial cells and vWF deposited on injured subendothelium while the cell penetrating peptide - TAT would facilitate enhanced uptake of these nanoparticles by the damaged vascular cells.To test this hypothesis, fluorescent drug loaded poly (D, L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA)-polyethylene glycol (PEG) nanoparticles (PLGA-PEG NPs) were formulated using a standard double emulsion method. We further conjugated GPIb and TAT via carbodiimide and avidin-biotin chemistry to the PLGA-PEG nanoparticles. Characterization of these nanoparticles indicated the average size to be about 200nm. Endothelial cell uptake studies indicated an optimal nanoparticle incubation time of one hour and optimal dose of 400 μg/ml. Biocompatibility results showed these particles to be non-toxic to endothelial cells. Moreover, dexamethasone release profiles from the nanoparticles demonstrated their ability to provide a sustained drug release over four weeks. Static and dynamic uptake studies of control, GPIb-conjugated, and GPIb-TAT- conjugated PLGA-PEG nanoparticles on activated endothelial cells exhibited an increased adhesion and uptake of GPIb-TAT conjugated PLGA-PEG nanoparticles compared to control nanoparticles. A similar trend of significantly higher adhesion of GPIb-TAT conjugated PLGA-PEG nanoparticles to the injured vessel wall was also observed in preliminary ex-vivo studies using the rat carotid injury model. These results suggest that "our novel multi-ligand NPs" would provide a unique active targeting strategy. This system would rapidly target and deliver therapeutic agents to the injured vascular wall under flow conditions. It could also serve as an effective therapeutic delivery system to treat the complications associated with cardiovascular diseases.


Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington