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Nanoparticle-encapsulated retinoic acid for the modulation of bone marrow hematopoietic stem cell niche

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-01-18, 10:47 authored by Emanuel Quartin, Susana Rosa, Sara Gonzalez-Anton, Laura Mosteo Lopez, Vitor Francisco, Delfim Duarte, Cristina Lo Celso, Ricardo Pires das Neves, Lino Ferreira
More effective approaches are needed in the treatment of blood cancers, in particular acute myeloid leukemia (AML), that are able to eliminate resistant leukemia stem cells (LSCs) at the bone marrow (BM), after a chemotherapy session, and then enhance hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) engraftment for the re-establishment of the HSC compartment. Here, we investigate whether light-activatable nanoparticles (NPs) encapsulating alltrans-retinoic acid (RA+NPs) could solve both problems. Our in vitro results show that mouse AML cells transfected with RA+NPs differentiate towards antitumoral M1 macrophages through RIG.1 and OASL gene expression. Our in vivo results further show that mouse AML cells transfected with RA+NPs home at the BM after transplantation in an AML mouse model. The photo-disassembly of the NPs within the grafted cells by a blue laser enables their differentiation towards a macrophage lineage. This macrophage activation seems to have systemic anti-leukemic effect within the BM, with a significant reduction of leukemic cells in all BM compartments, of animals treated with RA+NPs, when compared with animals treated with empty NPs. In a separate group of experiments, we show for the first time that normal HSCs transfected with RA+NPs show superior engraftment at the BM niche than cells without treatment or treated with empty NPs. This is the first time that the activity of RA is tested in terms of long-term hematopoietic reconstitution after transplant using an in situ activation approach without any exogenous priming or genetic conditioning of the transplanted cells. Overall, the approach documented here has the potential to improve consolidation therapy in AML since it allows a dual intervention in the BM niche: to tackle resistant leukemia and improve HSC engraftment at the same time.


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