S2P peptide-conjugated PLGA-Maleimide-PEG nanoparticles containing Imatinib for targeting drug delivery to atherosclerotic plaques

  • Mehdi Esfandyari-Manesh
  • Masoome Abdi
  • Azita Hajhossein Talasaz
  • Seyedeh Masoumeh Ebrahimi
  • Fatemeh Atyabi
  • Rassoul DinarvandEmail author
Research article



Imatinib is a platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) inhibitor with very low water solubility. Previous studies in atherosclerosis have shown that PDGFR activity has an egregious effect on vascular disease and progression of atherosclerosis. Specific ligands of atherosclerotic plaques can be used for targeting of nanoparticles. Studies in atherosclerosis proved that stabilin-2 is a glycoprotein which exists abundantly in atherosclerotic plaques and it is produced from both macrophages and endothelial cells.


The objective of this study is the targeting drug delivery to atherosclerotic plaques by using imatinib-loaded nanoparticles modified by S2P peptide.


The imatinib-loaded nanoparticles were fabricated through a modified emulsion/solvent evaporation technique. After fabricating PLGA nanoparticles, maleimide PEG was used as linker between PLGA nanoparticles and S2P peptide. Because of presence cysteine in both side of S2P peptide, maleimide formed a thiolether linkage by thiol group of cysteine. Then the physicochemical analysis like H-NMR, FT-IR, DSC, SEM, particle size, zeta potential, and drug release were studied.


Stabilin-2 peptide with sequence of CRTLTVRKC is a specific ligand to stabilin-2, so it was synthesized for using as the targeting agent for atherosclerosis. S2P peptide conjugation to the surface of nanoparticles was proved by H-NMR and FT-IR, and the percentage of S2P peptide in nanoparticles was 1.3%. The final nanoparticles were spherical and their size were 183 nm. The loading capacity of the imatinib-loaded nanoparticles was 5.05%. The sustained release profile was observed for peptide targeted nanoparticles.


The chosen method was simple, reproducible, and specific in peptide conjugation of nanoparticles for targeting delivery to atherosclerotic regions.

Graphical abstract



Nanomedicine Surface conjugation S2P peptide Imatinib Atherosclerosis 



The authors are grateful to Nanotechnology Research Center of Tehran University of Medical Sciences (Tehran, Iran) for financial support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nanotechnology Research Center, Faculty of PharmacyTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Pharmaceutics, Faculty of PharmacyTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  3. 3.Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Tehran Heart CenterTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  4. 4.Department of Chemistry, Sari BranchIslamic Azad UniversitySariIran

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