School of Pharmacy


Professor Moghimi has article published in ACS Nano

C1q-Mediated Complement Activation and C3 Opsonization Trigger Recognition of Stealth Poly(2-methyl-2-oxazoline)-Coated Silica Nanoparticles by Human Phagocytes


Poly(2-methyl-2-oxazoline) (PMOXA) is an alternative promising polymer to poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) for design and engineering of macrophage-evading nanoparticles (NPs).  Although PMOXA-engineered NPs have shown comparable pharmacokinetics and in vivo performance to PEGylated stealth NPs in the murine model, its interaction with elements of the human innate immune system has not been studied.  From a translational angle, we studied the interaction of fully characterized PMOXA-coated vinyltriethoxysilane-derived organically modified silica NPs (PMOXA-coated NPs) of approximately 100 nm in diameter with human complement system, blood leukocytes, and macrophages and compared their performance with PEGylated and uncoated NP counterparts. Through detailed immunological and proteomic profiling, we show that PMOXA-coated NPs extensively trigger complement activation in human sera exclusively through the classical pathway. Complement activation is initiated by the sensing molecule C1q, where C1q binds with high affinity (Kd = 11 ± 1 nM) to NP surfaces independent of immunoglobulin binding. C1q-mediated complement activation accelerates PMOXA opsonization with the third complement protein (C3) through the amplification loop of the alternative pathway.  This promoted NP recognition by human blood leukocytes and monocyte-derived macrophages.  The macrophage capture of PMOXA-coated NPs correlates with sera donor variability in complement activation and opsonization but not with other major corona proteins, including clusterin and a wide range of apolipoproteins.  In contrast to these observations, PMOXA-coated NPs poorly activated the murine complement system and were marginally recognized by mouse macrophages.  These studies provide important insights into compatibility of engineered NPs with elements of the human innate immune system for translational steps.


The full article can be found here

published on: 19 July 2019