Peptide-Conjugated Nanoparticles Reduce Positive Co-stimulatory Expression and T Cell Activity to Induce Tolerance

Robert Kuo, Eiji Saito, Stephen D. Miller, Lonnie D. Shea*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Targeted approaches to treat autoimmune diseases would improve upon current therapies that broadly suppress the immune system and lead to detrimental side effects. Antigen-specific tolerance was induced using poly(lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles conjugated with disease-relevant antigen to treat a model of multiple sclerosis. Increasing the nanoparticle dose and amount of conjugated antigen both resulted in more durable immune tolerance. To identify active tolerance mechanisms, we investigated downstream cellular and molecular events following nanoparticle internalization by antigen-presenting cells. The initial cell response to nanoparticles indicated suppression of inflammatory signaling pathways. Direct and functional measurement of surface MHC-restricted antigen showed positive correlation with both increasing particle dose from 1 to 100 μg/mL and increasing peptide conjugation by 2-fold. Co-stimulatory analysis of cells expressing MHC-restricted antigen revealed most significant decreases in positive co-stimulatory molecules (CD86, CD80, and CD40) following high doses of nanoparticles with higher peptide conjugation, whereas expression of a negative co-stimulatory molecule (PD-L1) remained high. T cells isolated from mice immunized against myelin proteolipid protein (PLP139–151) were co-cultured with antigen-presenting cells administered PLP139–151-conjugated nanoparticles, which resulted in reduced T cell proliferation, increased T cell apoptosis, and a stronger anti-inflammatory response. These findings indicate several potential mechanisms used by peptide-conjugated nanoparticles to induce antigen-specific tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1676-1685
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 5 2017


  • PLG nanoparticles
  • PLGA
  • antigen-specific tolerance
  • immune tolerance
  • tolerance induction mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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