Enzyme-instructed self-assembly of peptide-drug conjugates in tear fluids for ocular drug delivery

Yuhan Hu, Yuan Wang, Jie Deng, Xiangyu Ding, Deqing Lin, Hui Shi, Lin Chen, Dan Lin, Yuqin Wang, Serhii Vakal, Jiaqing Wang, Xingyi Li

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)


    In vivo self-assembly of small molecules offers an excellent opportunity for targeted and long-term accumulation of a therapeutic agent at the lesion site. Here we demonstrate the strategy of enzyme-instructed self-assembly (EISA) by designing a phosphorylated peptide-drug (IBF-HYD-GFFpY) precursor through the ester bond to release active drugs at the target site. Meanwhile, the in vivo assembly can be achieved by the catalysis of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) in the tear fluid for ocular drug delivery efficiently. The in vitro enzymatic experiments indicate that the dephosphorylation of IBF-HYD-GFFpY occurs firstly with the yield of IBF-HYD-GFFY which subsequently self-assembles into the supramolecular hydrogel to afford sustained drug release over 96 h. In the treatment of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated Raw 264.7 macrophages, IBF-HYD-GFFpY exerts the more potent anti-inflammatory efficacy than that of free ibuprofen (IBF) at the concentration of 200 μM. Moreover, the aqueous solution of IBF-HYD-GFFpY via topical instillation hardly causes ocular irritation, and displays longer precorneal retention compared to the conventional eye drop formulation. In addition, in the in vivo study, a rabbit model of endotoxin-induced uveitis (EIU) evidences the comparable therapeutic efficacy of IBF-HYD-GFFpY eye drops with that of clinically used 0.1 wt% diclofenac (DIC) sodium eye drops by the reduction of macrophage and leukocyte influx. This work, in situ EISA in the tear microenvironment directing in vivo self-assembly of small molecules, may guide a powerful approach for developing enzymatic self-assembled molecules as an efficient delivery system of ocular drugs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number344
    Pages (from-to)261-271
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Controlled Release
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Enzyme-instructed self-assembly
    • In vivo
    • Tear fluid
    • Ocular drug delivery


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