Formoterol PLGA-PEG Nanoparticles Induce Mitochondrial Biogenesis in Renal Proximal Tubules

Ernest L. Vallorz, Karen Blohm-Mangone, Rick G. Schnellmann, Heidi M. Mansour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Formoterol is a long-acting β2 agonist (LABA). Agonism of the β2-adrenergic receptor by formoterol is known to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis (MB) in renal proximal tubules and recover kidney function. However, formoterol has a number of cardiovascular side effects that limits its usage. The goal of this study was to design and develop an intravenous biodegradable and biocompatible polymeric nanoparticle delivery system that targets formoterol to the kidney. Poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether-block-poly(lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles containing encapsulated formoterol were synthesized by a modified single-emulsion solvent evaporation technique resulting in nanoparticles with a median hydrodynamic diameter of 442 + 17 nm. Using primary cell cultures of rabbit renal proximal tubular cells (RPTCs), free formoterol, encapsulated formoterol polymeric nanoparticles, and drug-free polymeric nanoparticles were biocompatible and not cytotoxic over a wide concentration range. In healthy male mice, polymeric nanoparticles were shown to localize in tubules of the renal cortex and improved the renal localization of encapsulated formoterol compared to the free formoterol. At a lower total formoterol dose, the nanoparticle localization resulted in increased expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α), the master regulator of MB, and increased electron transport chain proteins, markers of MB. This was confirmed by direct visual quantification of mitochondria and occurred with both free formoterol and the encapsulated formoterol polymeric nanoparticles. At the same time, localization of nanoparticles to the kidneys resulted in reduced induction of MB markers in the heart. These new nanoparticles effectively target formoterol to the kidney and successfully produce MB in the kidney.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number88
JournalAAPS Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • controlled drug release
  • formoterol
  • mitochondrial biogenesis
  • nanoparticles kidney
  • primary cell culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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