In the present in vitro study, we assessed the delivery of pirfenidone incorporated into liposomes modified with truncated basic fibroblast growth factor (tbFGF) to lung fibroblasts and investigated the anti-fibrotic effect of the drug. The tbFGF peptide, KRTGQYKLC, was used to modify the surface of liposomes (tbFGF-liposomes). We used the thin-layer evaporation method, followed by sonication, to prepare tbFGF-liposomes containing pirfenidone. The cellular accumulation of tbFGF-liposomes was 1.7-fold greater than that of non-modified liposomes in WI-38 cells used as a model of lung fibroblasts. Confocal laser scanning microscopy showed that tbFGF-liposomes were widely localized in WI-38 cells. The inhibitory effects of pirfenidone incorporated into tbFGF-liposomes on transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1)-induced collagen synthesis in WI-38 cells were evaluated by measuring the level of intracellular hydroxyproline, a major component of the protein collagen. Pirfenidone incorporated into tbFGF-liposomes at concentrations of 10, 30, and 100 µM significantly decreased the TGF-β1-induced hydroxyproline content in WI-38 cells. The anti-fibrotic effect of pirfenidone incorporated into tbFGF-liposomes was enhanced compared with that of pirfenidone solution. These results indicate that tbFGF-liposomes are a useful drug delivery system of anti-fibrotic drugs to lung fibroblasts for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
2015 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan