Intravenous Delivery of Lung-Targeted Nanofibers for Pulmonary Hypertension in Mice

Kathleen Marulanda, Alexandra Mercel, David C. Gillis, Kui Sun, Maria Gambarian, Joshua Roark, Jenna Weiss, Nick D. Tsihlis, Mark R. Karver, S. Ruben Centeno, Erica B. Peters, Tristan D. Clemons, Samuel I. Stupp, Sean E. McLean, Melina R. Kibbe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Pulmonary hypertension is a highly morbid disease with no cure. Available treatments are limited by systemic adverse effects due to non-specific biodistribution. Self-assembled peptide amphiphile (PA) nanofibers are biocompatible nanomaterials that can be modified to recognize specific biological markers to provide targeted drug delivery and reduce off-target toxicity. Here, PA nanofibers that target the angiotensin I-converting enzyme and the receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) are developed, as both proteins are overexpressed in the lung with pulmonary hypertension. It is demonstrated that intravenous delivery of RAGE-targeted nanofibers containing the targeting epitope LVFFAED (LVFF) significantly accumulated within the lung in a chronic hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension mouse model. Using 3D light sheet fluorescence microscopy, it is shown that LVFF nanofiber localization is specific to the diseased pulmonary tissue with immunofluorescence analysis demonstrating colocalization of the targeted nanofiber to RAGE in the hypoxic lung. Furthermore, biodistribution studies show that significantly more LVFF nanofibers localized to the lung compared to major off-target organs. Targeted nanofibers are retained within the pulmonary tissue for 24 h after injection. Collectively, these data demonstrate the potential of a RAGE-targeted nanomaterial as a drug delivery platform to treat pulmonary hypertension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2100302
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 7 2021


  • nanofibers
  • peptide amphiphiles
  • pulmonary hypertension
  • targeted drug delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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