Theranostics 2017; 7(8):2204-2219. doi:10.7150/thno.19571 This issue

Research Paper

E-selectin-targeted Sialic Acid-PEG-dexamethasone Micelles for Enhanced Anti-Inflammatory Efficacy for Acute Kidney Injury

Jing-Bo Hu1, Xu-Qi Kang1, Jing Liang2, Xiao-Juan Wang1, Xiao-Ling Xu1, Ping Yang3, Xiao-Ying Ying1, Sai-Ping Jiang3✉, Yong-Zhong Du1✉

1. Institute of Pharmaceutics, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Zhejiang University, 866 Yuhangtang Road, Hangzhou 310058, China;
2. Department of Pharmacy, Zhejiang Hospital, Hangzhou 310013, China;
3. Department of Pharmacy, The First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, 79 Qingchun Road, Hangzhou 310003, China.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
Hu JB, Kang XQ, Liang J, Wang XJ, Xu XL, Yang P, Ying XY, Jiang SP, Du YZ. E-selectin-targeted Sialic Acid-PEG-dexamethasone Micelles for Enhanced Anti-Inflammatory Efficacy for Acute Kidney Injury. Theranostics 2017; 7(8):2204-2219. doi:10.7150/thno.19571. Available from

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Graphic abstract

The effective treatment for acute kidney injury (AKI) is currently limited, and care is primarily supportive. Sialic acid (SA) is main component of Sialyl Lewisx antigen on the mammalian cell surface, which participates in E-selectin binding. Therefore, dexamethasone(DXM)-loaded E-selectin-targeting sialic acid-polyethylene glycol-dexamethasone (SA-PEG-DXM/DXM) conjugate micelles are designed for ameliorating AKI. The conjugates are synthesized via the esterification reaction between PEG and SA or DXM, and can spontaneously form micelles in an aqueous solution with a 65.6 µg/mL critical micelle concentration. Free DXM is incorporated into the micelles with 6.28 ± 0.21% drug loading content. In vitro DXM release from SA-PEG-DXM/DXM micelles can be prolonged to 48h. Much more SA-PEG-DXM micelles can be internalized by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) in comparison to PEG-DXM micelles due to specific interaction between SA and E-selectin expressed on HUVECs, and consequently more SA-PEG-DXM micelles are accumulated in the kidney of AKI murine model. Furthermore, SA in SA-PEG-DXM conjugates can significantly ameliorate LPS-induced production of pro-inflammatory cytokines via suppressing LPS-activated Beclin-1/Atg5-Atg12-mediated autophagy to attenuate toxicity. Compared with free DXM and PEG-DXM/DXM micelles, SA-PEG-DXM/DXM micelles show better therapeutical effects, as reflected by the improved renal function, histopathological changes, pro-inflammatory cytokines, oxidative stress and expression of apoptotic related proteins.

Keywords: Acute kidney injury, Sialic acid, Dexamethasone, Micelles, Anti-inflammatory effect.