Molecular targeting of atherosclerotic plaques by a stabilin-2-specific peptide ligand

Ga Young Lee, Jong Ho Kim, Goo Taeg Oh, Byung Heon Lee, Ick Chan Kwon, In San Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Many cells, including macrophages, accumulate in atherosclerotic lesions, destabilizing plaques and driving plaque disruption. Therefore, macrophages serve as useful targets for atherosclerosis treatment and imaging. Stabilin-2 is a transmembrane protein expressed predominantly in macrophages and endothelial cells. In the present study, we found that stabilin-2 was widely expressed in atherosclerotic plaques than in normal vessel walls, and was present not only in macrophages but also in endothelial and smooth muscle cells in plaques. We used phage display technology to identify peptides that specifically bound to stabilin-2. After four rounds of selection, the most commonly isolated peptide had the sequence CRTLTVRKC, and was named S2P. We confirmed that this peptide specifically bound to stabilin-2-expressing cells in vitro and sinus endothelial cells in the spleen and lymph nodes in vivo. A FITC-conjugated synthetic CRTLTVRKC peptide was shown to home to atherosclerotic plaques in Ldlr-/- mice and to co-localize with endothelial cells, macrophages, and smooth muscle cells in such plaques. S2P conjugated to hydrophobically modified glycol chitosan nanoparticles was efficiently delivered to atherosclerotic plaques. These results show that the CRLTLTVRKC peptide homes to plaques by targeting stabilin-2; the peptide shows promise as a drug delivery moiety for, and an aid to molecular imaging of, atherosclerosis and other inflammatory diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-217
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Issue number2
StatePublished - 30 Oct 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MEST) ( 2010-0029206 ), supported by the Converging Research Center Program through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( 2010K001054 ), and supported by the grant No. RTI04-01-01 from the Regional Technology Innovation Program of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) .


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Nanoparticles
  • Phage display
  • Stabilin-2
  • Targeting


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular targeting of atherosclerotic plaques by a stabilin-2-specific peptide ligand'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this