Epigallocatechin gallate-loaded tetrahedral DNA nanostructures as a novel inner ear drug delivery system

Yuming Chen, Jiayi Gu, Yan Liu, Ke Xu, Jie Song, Xueling Wang, Dehong Yu, Hao Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study of drug delivery systems to the inner ear is a crucial but challenging field. The sensory organ (in the inner ear) is protected by the petrous bone labyrinth and the membranous labyrinth, both of which need to be overcome during the drug delivery process. The requirements for such a delivery system include small size, appropriate flexibility and biodegradability. DNA nanostructures, biomaterials that can arrange multiple functional components with nanometer precision, exhibit characteristics that are compatible with the requirements for inner ear drug delivery. Herein, we report the development of a novel inner ear drug delivery system based on epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)-loaded tetrahedral DNA nanostructures (TDNs, EGCG@TDNs). The TDNs self-assembled via base-pairing of four single-stranded DNA constructs and EGCG was loaded into the TDNs through non-covalent interactions. Cy5-labeled TDNs (Cy5-TDNs) were significantly internalized by the House Ear Institute-Organ of Corti 1 cell line, and this endocytosis was energy-, clathrin-, and micropinocytosis-dependent. Cy5-TDNs penetrated the round window membrane (RWM) rapidly in vivo. Local application of EGCG@TDNs onto the RWM of guinea pigs in a single dose continuously released EGCG over 4 hours. Drug concentrations in the perilymph were significantly elevated compared with the administration of free EGCG at the same dose. EGCG@TDNs were found to have favorable biocompatibility and strongly affected the RSL3-induced down-regulation of GPX4 and the generation of reactive oxygen species, on the basis of 2′,7′-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate staining. JC-1 staining suggested that EGCG@TDNs successfully reversed the decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential induced by RSL-3 in vitro and rescued cells from apoptosis, as demonstrated by the analysis of Annexin V-FITC/PI staining. Further functional studies showed that a locally administered single-dose of EGCG@TDNs effectively preserved spiral ganglion cells in C57/BL6 mice after noise-induced hearing loss. Hearing loss at 5.6 and 8 kHz frequencies was significantly attenuated when compared with the control EGCG formulation. Histological analyses indicated that the administration of TDNs and EGCG@TDNs did not induce local inflammatory responses. These favorable histological and functional effects resulting from the delivery of EGCG by TDNs through a local intratympanic injection suggest potential for therapeutic benefit in clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8000-8011
Number of pages12
Issue number22
StatePublished - May 19 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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