Most inhaled nanomedicines in development are for the treatment of lung disease, yet little is known about their interaction with the respiratory tract lining fluids (RTLF). Here we combined the use of nano-silica, as a protein concentrator, with label-free snapshot proteomics (LC-MS/MS; key findings confirmed by ELISA) to generate a quantitative profile of the RTLF proteome and provided insight into the evolved corona; information that may be used in future to improve drug targeting to the lungs by inhaled medicines.
The asthmatic coronal proteome displayed a reduced contribution of surfactant proteins (SP-A and B) and a higher contribution of α1-antitrypsin. Pathway analysis suggested that asthmatic RTLFs may also be deficient in proteins related to metal handling (e.g. lactoferrin). This study demonstrates how the composition of the corona acquired by inhaled nanoparticles is modified in asthma and suggests depressed mucosal immunity even in mild airway disease.