Differential uptake of chemically modified cowpea mosaic virus nanoparticles in macrophage subpopulations present in inflammatory and tumor microenvironments.

PMID 22963597


There remains a tremendous need to develop targeted therapeutics that can both image and localize the toxic effects of chemotherapeutics and antagonists on diseased tissue while reducing adverse systemic effects. These needs have fostered the development of a nanotechnology-based approach that can combine targeting and toxicity potential. In this study, CPMV nanoparticles were chemically modified with the dye Alexa Flour 488 and were also tandemly modified with PEG1000 followed by AF488; and the derivatized nanoparticles were subsequently added to macrophages stimulated with either LPS (M1) or IL-4 (M2). Previously published studies have shown that M1/M2 macrophages are both present in an inflammatory microenvironment (such as a tumor microenvironment and atherosclerosis) and play opposing yet balancing roles; M2 macrophages have a delayed and progressive onset in the tumor microenvironment (concomitant with an immunosuppression of M1 macrophages). In this study, we show higher uptake of CPMV-AF488 and CPMV-PEG-AF488 by M2 macrophages compared to M1 macrophages. M1 macrophages showed no uptake of CPMV-PEG-AF488. More specifically, M2 macrophages are known to be up-regulated in early atherosclerosis plaque. Indeed, previous work showed that M2 macrophages in plaque also correlate with CPMV internalization. These studies emphasize the potential effectiveness of CPMV as a tailored vehicle for targeting tumor macrophages involved in cancer metastasis or vascular inflammation and further highlight the potential of CPMV in targeted therapeutics against other diseases.

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