The NF-κB signaling pathway is implicated in various inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA); therefore, inhibition of this pathway has the potential to ameliorate an array of inflammatory diseases. Given that NF-κB signaling is critical for many immune cell functions, systemic blockade of this pathway may lead to detrimental side effects. siRNAs coupled with a safe and effective delivery nanoplatform may afford the specificity lacking in systemic administration of small-molecule inhibitors. Here we demonstrated that a melittin-derived cationic amphipathic peptide combined with siRNA targeting the p65 subunit of NF-κB (p5RHH-p65) noncovalently self-assemble into stable nanocomplexes that home to the inflamed joints in a murine model of RA. Specifically, administration of p5RHH-p65 siRNA nanocomplexes abrogated inflammatory cytokine expression and cellular influx into the joints, protected against bone erosions, and preserved cartilage integrity. The p5RHH-p65 siRNA nanocomplexes potently suppressed early inflammatory arthritis without affecting p65 expression in off-target organs or eliciting a humoral response after serial injections. These data suggest that this self-assembling, largely nontoxic platform may have broad utility for the specific delivery of siRNA to target and limit inflammatory processes for the treatment of a variety of diseases.
Hui-fang Zhou, Huimin Yan, Hua Pan, Kirk K. Hou, Antonina Akk, Luke E. Springer, Ying Hu, J. Stacy Allen, Samuel A. Wickline, Christine T.N. Pham