The dimeric artesunate phospholipid conjugate (Di-ART-GPC) is a novel amphipathic artemisinin derivative, which can be assembled into liposomes. Di-ART-GPC liposomes were prepared and evaluated as potential anti-inflammatory agents for rheumatic arthritis (RA).
Di-ART-GPC was assembled into liposomes utilizing thin film dispersion-high pressure homogenization. Dynamic light scattering (DLS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and electron cryo microscopy (cryo-EM) were employed to characterize the liposomal size and morphology. The in vitro cytotoxicity of the Di-ART-GPC liposomes was assessed using Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK8). The anti-inflammatory effects were studied utilizing the inflammatory cell model. Finally, the in vivo efficacy of the Di-ART-GPC-conjugated liposomes was investigated using the arthritis rat model.
The particle size of the Di-ART-GPC liposomes decreased to a narrow range of approximately 70 nm following high-pressure homogenization. The in vitro studies revealed low cytotoxicity and good anti-inflammatory effects of the Di-ART-GPC liposomes, which exhibited significantly higher inhibition of the cell secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines than ART. The in vivo evaluation confirmed that treatment with Di-ART-GPC resulted in a decline in the ankle swelling rate and a low inflammatory response compared with the model control and ART.
Di-ART-GPC liposomes demonstrate remarkable potential as novel ART-based anti-inflammatory agents for RA.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.