Novel cystamine-core dendrimer-formulation rescues ΔF508-CFTR and inhibits Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection by augmenting autophagy

Janine Faraj, Manish Bodas, Garrett Pehote, Doug Swanson, Ajit Sharma, Neeraj Vij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Cystic fibrosis (CF) is challenged with pathophysiological barriers for effective airway drug-delivery. Hence, we standardized the therapeutic efficacy of the novel dendrimer-based autophagy-inducing anti-oxidant drug, cysteamine. Research design and methods: Human primary-CF epithelial-cells, CFBE41o-cells were used to standardize the efficacy of the dendrimer-cystamine in correcting impaired-autophagy, rescuing ΔF508-CFTR and Pseudomonas-aeruginosa (Pa) infection. Results: We first designed a novel cystamine-core dendrimer formulation (G4-CYS) that significantly increases membrane-ΔF508CFTR expression in CFBE41o-cells (p < 0.05) by forming its reduced-form cysteamine, in vivo. Additionally, G4-CYS treatment corrects ΔF508-CFTR-mediated impaired-autophagy as observed by a significant decrease (p < 0.05) in Ub-LC3-positive aggresome-bodies. Next, we verified that in non-permeabilized CFBE41o-cells, G4-CYS significantly (p < 0.05) induces ΔF508-CFTR’s forward-trafficking to the plasma membrane. Furthermore, cysteamine’s known antibacterial and anti-biofilm properties against Pa were enhanced as our findings demonstrate that both G4-CYS and its control DAB-core dendrimer, G4-DAB, exhibited significant (p < 0.05) bactericidal-activity against Pa. We also found that both G4-CYS and G4-DAB exhibit marked mucolytic-activity against porcine-mucus (p < 0.05). Finally, we demonstrate that G4-CYS not only corrects the autophagy-impairment by rescuing ΔF508-CFTR in CFBE41o-cells but also corrects the intrinsic phagocytosis defect (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Overall, our data demonstrates the efficacy of novel cystamine-dendrimer formulation in rescuing ΔF508-CFTR to the plasma membrane and inhibiting Pa bacterial-infection by augmenting autophagy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-186
Number of pages10
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Delivery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • CFTR
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • autophagy
  • cystamine
  • cysteamine
  • dendrimers


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