(203f) Gold Nanoconjugates for Spinal Cord Injury Treatment: Recovery and Biodistribution
Due to their versatile surface chemistry, ease of imaging, and biocompatibility, gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) are employed as drug delivery devices in the treatment of spinal cord injury (SCI). In this talk, we will describe the synthesis of a tripartite nanoconjugate comprised of an AuNP drug carrier chemically conjugated to a transporter protein (wheat germ agglutinin coupled to horseradish peroxidase or WGA-HRP) and to theophylline, a SCI drug. The nanoconjugate structure was determined by UV-vis spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, dynamic light scattering, thermogravimetric analysis, and mass spectrometry. The therapeutic efficacy and biodistribution were studied in a validated animal model for hemi-diaphragmatic spinal cord paralysis. Our results show that a single administration of the nanoconjugate improved diaphragmatic activity at a much lower dosage than the effective systemic drug dosage and restored the respiratory drive. The effects lasted for 14 days. A biodistribution study using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry on the same animal model shows that the nanoconjugate was successful in targeting the respiratory neurons in the medulla. This research demonstrates the translational potential of our nanoconjugate design for SCI patients with respiratory dysfunction.