All Publications

  • An ultrafast insulin formulation enabled by high-throughput screening of engineered polymeric excipients. Science translational medicine Mann, J. L., Maikawa, C. L., Smith, A. A., Grosskopf, A. K., Baker, S. W., Roth, G. A., Meis, C. M., Gale, E. C., Liong, C. S., Correa, S., Chan, D., Stapleton, L. M., Yu, A. C., Muir, B., Howard, S., Postma, A., Appel, E. A. 2020; 12 (550)


    Insulin has been used to treat diabetes for almost 100 years; yet, current rapid-acting insulin formulations do not have sufficiently fast pharmacokinetics to maintain tight glycemic control at mealtimes. Dissociation of the insulin hexamer, the primary association state of insulin in rapid-acting formulations, is the rate-limiting step that leads to delayed onset and extended duration of action. A formulation of insulin monomers would more closely mimic endogenous postprandial insulin secretion, but monomeric insulin is unstable in solution using present formulation strategies and rapidly aggregates into amyloid fibrils. Here, we implement high-throughput-controlled radical polymerization techniques to generate a large library of acrylamide carrier/dopant copolymer (AC/DC) excipients designed to reduce insulin aggregation. Our top-performing AC/DC excipient candidate enabled the development of an ultrafast-absorbing insulin lispro (UFAL) formulation, which remains stable under stressed aging conditions for 25 ± 1 hours compared to 5 ± 2 hours for commercial fast-acting insulin lispro formulations (Humalog). In a porcine model of insulin-deficient diabetes, UFAL exhibited peak action at 9 ± 4 min, whereas commercial Humalog exhibited peak action at 25 ± 10 min. These ultrafast kinetics make UFAL a promising candidate for improving glucose control and reducing burden for patients with diabetes.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/scitranslmed.aba6676

    View details for PubMedID 32611683

  • Site-selective modification of proteins using cucurbit[7]uril as supramolecular protection for N-terminal aromatic amino acids. Organic & biomolecular chemistry Smith, A. A., Maikawa, C. L., Roth, G. A., Appel, E. A. 2020


    Cucurbit[7,8]urils are known to form inclusion complexes with aromatic amino acids, hosting the hydrohobic side chains within the cavity and adjacent cations within the portal of the macrocyclic host. Here we show that cucurbit[7]uril binding with N-terminal phenylalanine significantly reduces the nucleophilicity of the amine, likely due to an increase in stability of the ammonium ion, rendering it unreactive at neutral pH. Using insulin as a model protein, we show that this supramolecular protection strategy can drive selectivity of N-terminal amine conjugation away from the preferred B chain N-terminal phenylalanine towards the A chain N-terminal glycine. Cucurbit[7]uril can therefore be used as a supramolecular protecting group for site-selective protein modification.

    View details for DOI 10.1039/d0ob01004a

    View details for PubMedID 32459261

  • A co-formulation of supramolecularly stabilized insulin and pramlintide enhances mealtime glucagon suppression in diabetic pigs. Nature biomedical engineering Maikawa, C. L., Smith, A. A., Zou, L., Roth, G. A., Gale, E. C., Stapleton, L. M., Baker, S. W., Mann, J. L., Yu, A. C., Correa, S., Grosskopf, A. K., Liong, C. S., Meis, C. M., Chan, D., Troxell, M., Maahs, D. M., Buckingham, B. A., Webber, M. J., Appel, E. A. 2020


    Treatment of patients with diabetes with insulin and pramlintide (an amylin analogue) is more effective than treatment with insulin only. However, because mixtures of insulin and pramlintide are unstable and have to be injected separately, amylin analogues are only used by 1.5% of people with diabetes needing rapid-acting insulin. Here, we show that the supramolecular modification of insulin and pramlintide with cucurbit[7]uril-conjugated polyethylene glycol improves the pharmacokinetics of the dual-hormone therapy and enhances postprandial glucagon suppression in diabetic pigs. The co-formulation is stable for over 100 h at 37 °C under continuous agitation, whereas commercial formulations of insulin analogues aggregate after 10 h under similar conditions. In diabetic rats, the administration of the stabilized co-formulation increased the area-of-overlap ratio of the pharmacokinetic curves of pramlintide and insulin from 0.4 ± 0.2 to 0.7 ± 0.1 (mean ± s.d.) for the separate administration of the hormones. The co-administration of supramolecularly stabilized insulin and pramlintide better mimics the endogenous kinetics of co-secreted insulin and amylin, and holds promise as a dual-hormone replacement therapy.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41551-020-0555-4

    View details for PubMedID 32393892

  • Stable Monomeric Insulin Formulations Enabled by Supramolecular PEGylation of Insulin Analogues. Advanced therapeutics Maikawa, C. L., Smith, A. A., Zou, L., Meis, C. M., Mann, J. L., Webber, M. J., Appel, E. A. 2020; 3 (1)


    Current "fast-acting" insulin analogues contain amino acid modifications meant to inhibit dimer formation and shift the equilibrium of association states toward the monomeric state. However, the insulin monomer is highly unstable and current formulation techniques require insulin to primarily exist as hexamers to prevent aggregation into inactive and immunogenic amyloids. Insulin formulation excipients have thus been traditionally selected to promote insulin association into the hexameric form to enhance formulation stability. This study exploits a novel excipient for the supramolecular PEGylation of insulin analogues, including aspart and lispro, to enhance the stability and maximize the prevalence of insulin monomers in formulation. Using multiple techniques, it is demonstrated that judicious choice of formulation excipients (tonicity agents and parenteral preservatives) enables insulin analogue formulations with 70-80% monomer and supramolecular PEGylation imbued stability under stressed aging for over 100 h without altering the insulin association state. Comparatively, commercial "fast-acting" formulations contain less than 1% monomer and remain stable for only 10 h under the same stressed aging conditions. This simple and effective formulation approach shows promise for next-generation ultrafast insulin formulations with a short duration of action that can reduce the risk of post-prandial hypoglycemia in the treatment of diabetes.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/adtp.201900094

    View details for PubMedID 32190729

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7079736

  • Block copolymer composition drives function of self-assembled nanoparticles for delivery of small-molecule cargo JOURNAL OF POLYMER SCIENCE PART A-POLYMER CHEMISTRY Maikawa, C. L., Sevit, A., Lin, B., Wallstrom, R. J., Mann, J. L., Yu, A. C., Waymouth, R. M., Appel, E. A. 2019; 57 (12): 1322–32

    View details for DOI 10.1002/pola.29393

    View details for Web of Science ID 000469938700008

  • Comparison of Airway Responses Induced in a Mouse Model by the Gas and Particulate Fractions of Gasoline Direct Injection Engine Exhaust INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND PUBLIC HEALTH Maikawa, C. L., Zimmerman, N., Ramos, M., Shah, M., Wallace, J. S., Pollitt, K. 2018; 15 (3)


    Diesel exhaust has been associated with asthma, but its response to other engine emissions is not clear. The increasing prevalence of vehicles with gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines motivated this study, and the objective was to evaluate pulmonary responses induced by acute exposure to GDI engine exhaust in an allergic asthma murine model. Mice were sensitized with an allergen to induce airway hyperresponsiveness or treated with saline (non-allergic group). Animals were challenged for 2-h to exhaust from a laboratory GDI engine operated at conditions equivalent to a highway cruise. Exhaust was filtered to assess responses induced by the particulate and gas fractions. Short-term exposure to particulate matter from GDI engine exhaust induced upregulation of genes related to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) metabolism (Cyp1b1) and inflammation (TNFα) in the lungs of non-allergic mice. High molecular weight PAHs dominated the particulate fraction of the exhaust, and this response was therefore likely attributable to the presence of these PAHs. The particle fraction of GDI engine exhaust further contributed to enhanced methacholine responsiveness in the central and peripheral tissues in animals with airway hyperresponsiveness. As GDI engines gain prevalence in the vehicle fleet, understanding the health impacts of their emissions becomes increasingly important.

    View details for DOI 10.3390/ijerph15030429

    View details for Web of Science ID 000428509200036

    View details for PubMedID 29494515

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5876974