Engineering bioactive nanoparticles to rejuvenate vascular progenitor cells

Loan Bui, Shanique Edwards, Eva Hall, Laura Alderfer, Kellen Round, Madeline Owen, Pietro Sainaghi, Siyuan Zhang, Prakash D. Nallathamby, Laura S. Haneline, Donny Hanjaya-Putra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Fetal exposure to gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) predisposes children to future health complications including type-2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. A key mechanism by which these complications occur is through stress-induced dysfunction of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), including endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs). Although several approaches have been previously explored to restore endothelial function, their widespread adoption remains tampered by systemic side effects of adjuvant drugs and unintended immune response of gene therapies. Here, we report a strategy to rejuvenate circulating vascular progenitor cells by conjugation of drug-loaded liposomal nanoparticles directly to the surface of GDM-exposed ECFCs (GDM-ECFCs). Bioactive nanoparticles can be robustly conjugated to the surface of ECFCs without altering cell viability and key progenitor phenotypes. Moreover, controlled delivery of therapeutic drugs to GDM-ECFCs is able to normalize transgelin (TAGLN) expression and improve cell migration, which is a critical key step in establishing functional vascular networks. More importantly, sustained pseudo-autocrine stimulation with bioactive nanoparticles is able to improve in vitro and in vivo vasculogenesis of GDM-ECFCs. Collectively, these findings highlight a simple, yet promising strategy to rejuvenate GDM-ECFCs and improve their therapeutic potential. Promising results from this study warrant future investigations on the prospect of the proposed strategy to improve dysfunctional vascular progenitor cells in the context of other chronic diseases, which has broad implications for addressing various cardiovascular complications, as well as advancing tissue repair and regenerative medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number635
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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