Hyaluronic acid (HA) presentation as a tool to modulate and control the receptor-mediated uptake of HA-coated nanoparticles
The natural turnover of free hyaluronic acid (HA) is predominantly based on its CD44-mediated internalisation in leukocytes. In a phagocytic cell model (RAW 264.7 murine macrophages) we here provide conclusive evidence that this receptor-mediated mechanism endocytosis is responsible also of the uptake of materials where HA is used as a coating agent, in this case chitosan/triphosphate nanoparticles on whose surface HA is electrostatically adsorbed. Alginate-coated nanoparticles were used as a control and they appeared to undergo a qualitatively similar endocytic process, which was mediated by a different scavenging receptor yet to be identified. In this general picture, an important, modulating role appears to be played by how receptors can cluster around individual nanoparticles. The CD44 slow representation (24-48h) enforces a limit in the amount of available HA internalisation receptors; therefore a higher affinity, and hence a higher degree of clustering, would yield a lower number of internalised nanoparticles. HA presentation can be varied by acting on nanoparticle structure/morphology, and our data suggest that a better presentation may be linked to both higher affinity and lower capacity/uptake rate. Paradoxically, this result would suggest that particles with a lower affinity for CD44 may allow a more efficient HA-mediated delivery of payloads. Copyright 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.