Engineered polymer nanoparticles containing hydrophobic dipeptide for inhibition of amyloid-β fibrillation

Hadas Skaat, Ravit Chen, Igor Grinberg, Shlomo Margel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Protein aggregation into amyloid fibrils is implicated in the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative diseases. Engineered nanoparticles have emerged as a potential approach to alter the kinetics of protein fibrillation process. Yet, there are only a few reports describing the use of nanoparticles for inhibition of amyloid-β 40 (Aβ40) peptide aggregation, involved in Alzheimer's disease (AD). In the present study, we designed new uniform biocompatible amino-acid-based polymer nanoparticles containing hydrophobic dipeptides in the polymer side chains. The dipeptide residues were designed similarly to the hydrophobic core sequence of Aβ. Poly(N-acryloyl-l- phenylalanyl-l-phenylalanine methyl ester) (polyA-FF-ME) nanoparticles of 57 ± 6 nm were synthesized by dispersion polymerization of the monomer A-FF-ME in 2-methoxy ethanol, followed by precipitation of the obtained polymer in aqueous solution. Cell viability assay confirmed that no significant cytotoxic effect of the polyA-FF-ME nanoparticles on different human cell lines, e.g., PC-12 and SH-SY5Y, was observed. A significantly slow secondary structure transition from random coil to β-sheets during Aβ40 fibril formation was observed in the presence of these nanoparticles, resulting in significant inhibition of Aβ40 fibrillation kinetics. However, the polyA-FF-ME analogous nanoparticles containing the l-alanyl-l-alanine (AA) dipeptide in the polymer side groups, polyA-AA-ME nanoparticles, accelerate the Aβ40 fibrillation kinetics. The polyA-FF-ME nanoparticles and the polyA-AA-ME nanoparticles may therefore contribute to a mechanistic understanding of the fibrillation process, leading to the development of therapeutic strategies against amyloid-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2662-2670
Number of pages9
Issue number9
StatePublished - 10 Sep 2012


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