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Recently the vaginal route consider as an ideal route for drug delivery systems (DDS) administration. This is because, it is suitable for lower drug dosage, higher drug concentration in the genital tract tissues and lower drug concentration in pregnant women blood circulation. However, the vaginal route administration faces many challenges due to the physiology as well as the complexity of vaginal tissue histology. Here in this study, during diestrus stage (optimal condition for foreign substance internalization), single or dual size of fluorescent thiol-organosilica nanoparticles (tOS-NPs) were administrated intravaginally. The biodistribution and reactivity of tOS-NPs in different tissues of the female genital tract were investigated under the fluorescence microscope. Furthermore, using immunohistochemical staining, the expression of F4/80 protein and the role of macrophages in transport and re-location of tOS-NPs from vaginal lumen into different genital tissues or other organs were investigated. This study showed that, tOS-NPs size and type of tissue are important in biodistribution and uptake of tOS-NPs in the genital tract. Small size (100 nm) of tOS-NPs was highly accumulated in the genital tract tissues especially endometrial epithelium compared with large tOS-NPs (1000 nm). Contradictory, the large size induced the expression of F4/80 protein and the number of vaginal macrophages compared with small size. However, both small and large sizes of tOS-NPs were found co-localized with F4/80+ macrophages, located in the vaginal, endometrial and ovarian tissues. The tOS-NPs intravaginally administrated were found in the splenic tissues, indicating its ability to enter the blood circulation from the vaginal lumen. Additionally, the high accumulation of tOS-NPs in the endometrial epithelium indicated the endometrial first pass effect of tOS-NPs. As a result, high concentration of tOS-NPs in the endometrial epithelium may reduce the concentration of tOS-NPs-based DDS in the blood circulation and their side effects. Furthermore, during vaginal tissue optimal condition (diestrus stage), understanding the fate and biodistribution of tOS-NPs will introduce important data about the development of save and effective DDS for the pregnant women.


Aziz Awaad, Michihiro Nakamura. Size-dependent biodistribution of thiol-organosilica nanoparticles and F4/80 protein expression in the genital tract of female mice after intravaginal administration. Histochemistry and cell biology. 2021 Jun;155(6):683-698

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PMID: 33656583

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