aNational Engineering Laboratory for Resource Development of Endangered Crude Drugs in Northwest China; Key Laboratory of Medicinal Resources and Natural Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Ministry of EducationCollege of Life Sciences, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an, China;
bDepartment of Histology and Embryology, Chongqing Key Laboratory of Neurobiology, Army Medical University, Chongqing, China
Limited penetration of chemotherapeutic drugs through the blood brain barrier (BBB), and the increased chemo-resistance of glioma cells due to macroautophagy/autophagy, result in high tumor recurrence and extremely limited survival of glioma patients. Ultrasound-targeted microbubble destruction (UTMD) is a technique of transient and reversible BBB disruption, which greatly facilitates intracerebral drug delivery. In addition, sonodynamic therapy (SDT) based on ultrasound stimulation and a sonosensitizer, can be a safe and noninvasive strategy for treating glioma. We innovatively designed a smart “all-in-one” nanosensitizer platform by incorporating the sonoactive chlorin e6 (Ce6) and an autophagy inhibitor-hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) into angiopep-2 peptide-modified liposomes (designated as ACHL), which integrates multiple diagnostic and therapeutic functions. ACHL selectively accumulated in the brain tumors during the optimal time-window of transient UTMD-mediated BBB opening. The nanosensitizer then responded to a second ultrasonic stimulation, and simultaneously unloaded HCQ and generated ROS in the glioma cells. The sonotherapy triggered apoptosis as well as MAPK/p38-PINK1-PRKN-dependent mitophagy, in which the antioxidant relieved the sonotoxicity and MAPK/p38 activation, while the inhibition of MAPK/p38 attenuated the progression toward mitophagy by compromising redistribution of PRKN. Moreover, HCQ blocking autophagosome degradation, augmented intracellular ROS production and resulted in an oxidative-damage regenerative loop. ACHL-SDT
treatment using this construct significantly inhibited the xenograft-tumor growth and prolonged the survival time of tumor-bearing mice, exhibiting an improved therapeutic efficiency. All together, we demonstrated a precision sonotherapy with simultaneous apoptosis induction and mitophagy inhibition, which served as an intelligently strategic sense of working alongside, providing new insights into the theranostics of brain tumors.