Power of Composite: A composite hydrogel was made of a self-assembling short peptide and a mannose-conjugated non-assembling peptide to tackle Leishmaniasis. The surface decoration with mannose allowed efficient binding of the parasite and thereby allowed effective treatment of Leishmaniasis.
Leishmaniasis, caused by the intramacrophage protozoan parasite Leishmania donovani, is a life-threatening yet neglected vector-borne disease. Few medications for the treatment of this disease are available. However, targeted delivery of drugs to macrophages remains a significant concern. Macrophages are equipped with many receptors, and therefore putting suitable ligands in the macrophage targeting drug delivery vehicle gained a lot of attention. One such receptor is the mannose receptor, abundantly expressed by macrophages. To treat this deadly disease, in this study, a mannose containing composite hydrogel is prepared by combining a self-aggregating short peptide (Nap-FFGE-NH2, Pep-A) and a mannose containing non-aggregating peptide (Nap-FF-mannosyl, Pep-B). The self-aggregation of the composite hydrogel is evaluated using various spectroscopic and microscopic techniques. Intermolecular hydrogen bonding and π-π stacking lead to an antiparallel β-sheet like arrangement of the peptides. Notably, the composite hydrogel showed shear-thinning and syneresis properties. Moreover, the composite hydrogel was found to be stable in cell-culture media, biodegradable and non-toxic to the macrophages. Both control and infected macrophages showed effective cell growth and proliferation when subjected to the composite 2D and 3D hydrogel matrix. When treated with Amphotericin B loaded composite hydrogel, the drug was effectively delivered to kill the parasite in the infected macrophages. Almost 3.5 fold decrease in the parasite burden was recorded when infected cells were treated with drug-loaded composite hydrogel. The injectability, biodegradability, non-cytotoxicity, and efficient drug delivery properties of the mannose-functionalized hydrogel make it a suitable candidate for the treatment of Leishmaniasis.Zum Volltext