Development of nintedanib nanosuspension for inhaled treatment of experimental silicosis

Luisa Helena Andrade da Silva, Juliana Borges Vieira, Marianna Ribeiro Cabral, Mariana Alves Antunes, Daiheon Lee, Fernanda Ferreira Cruz, Justin Hanes, Patricia Rieken Macedo Rocco, Marcelo Marcos Morales, Jung Soo Suk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Silicosis is an irreversible and progressive fibrotic lung disease caused by massive inhalation of crystalline silica dust at workplaces, affecting millions of industrial workers worldwide. A tyrosine kinase inhibitor, nintedanib (NTB), has emerged as a potential silicosis treatment due to its inhibitory effects on key signaling pathways that promote silica-induced pulmonary fibrosis. However, chronic and frequent use of the oral NTB formulation clinically approved for treating other fibrotic lung diseases often results in significant side effects. To this end, we engineered a nanocrystal-based suspension formulation of NTB (NTB-NS) possessing specific physicochemical properties to enhance drug retention in the lung for localized treatment of silicosis via inhalation. Our NTB-NS formulation was prepared using a wet-milling procedure in presence of Pluronic F127 to endow the formulation with nonadhesive surface coatings to minimize interactions with therapy-inactivating delivery barriers in the lung. We found that NTB-NS, following intratracheal administration, provided robust anti-fibrotic effects and mechanical lung function recovery in a mouse model of silicosis, whereas a 100-fold greater oral NTB dose given with a triple dosing frequency failed to do so. Importantly, several key pathological phenotypes were fully normalized by NTB-NS without displaying notable local or systemic adverse effects. Overall, NTB-NS may open a new avenue for localized treatment of silicosis and potentially other fibrotic lung diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere10401
JournalBioengineering and Translational Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • localized treatment
  • lung function
  • nanosuspension
  • pulmonary fibrosis
  • tyrosine kinase inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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