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Uncontrolled inflammation is a major pathological factor underlying a range of diseases including autoimmune conditions, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Improving localized delivery of immunosuppressive drugs to inflamed tissue in a non-invasive manner offers significant promise to reduce severe side effects caused by systemic administration. Here, a neutrophil-mediated delivery system able to transport drug-loaded nanocarriers to inflamed tissue by exploiting the inherent ability of neutrophils to migrate to inflammatory tissue is reported. This hybrid system (neutrophils loaded with liposomes ex vivo) efficiently migrates in vitro following an inflammatory chemokine gradient. Furthermore, the triggered release of loaded liposomes and reuptake by target macrophages is studied. The migratory behavior of liposome-loaded neutrophils is confirmed in vivo by demonstrating the delivery of drug-loaded liposomes to an inflamed skeletal muscle in mice. A single low-dose injection of the hybrid system locally reduces inflammatory cytokine levels. Biodistribution of liposome-loaded neutrophils in a human-disease-relevant myocardial ischemia reperfusion injury mouse model after i.v. injection confirms the ability of injected neutrophils to carry loaded liposomes to inflammation sites. This strategy shows the potential of nanocarrier-loaded neutrophils as a universal platform to deliver anti-inflammatory drugs to promote tissue regeneration in inflammatory diseases.

Original publication




Journal article


Adv Mater

Publication Date





inflammation, liposomes, methotrexate, neutrophils, Animals, Humans, Inflammation, Liposomes, Mice, Muscle, Skeletal, Myocardial Ischemia, Neutrophils