Ameliorative Effect of Thymoquinone-Loaded PLGA Nanoparticles on Chronic Lung Injury Induced by Repetitive Intratracheal Instillation of Lipopolysaccharide in Rats

Thymoquinone (TQ), the active constituent of Nigella sativa, possesses several benefits in traditional and modern medicines. This study examined the effect of a single dose of Nano-TQ on chronic lung injury induced by repetitive intratracheal installation of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Rats received LPS twice weekly for 8 weeks via intratracheal installation and a single dose of TQ-PLGA NPs on the day after the last dose of LPS. Six rats from each group were sacrificed after 8 and 10 weeks, and samples were collected for analysis. Repetitive intratracheal installation of LPS caused histopathological alterations, including partial or complete obstruction of the alveoli, interstitial edema, mild fibroblastic proliferation, fibrous strands besides lymphocytes and plasma infiltrations, suffered fetalization, bronchiectasis, hypertrophied arterioles, and others. Investigation of the ultrastructure revealed prominent necrotic pneumocytes with destructed chromatin and remnant of necrotic debris in the narrowing alveolar lumen in LPS-induced rats. TQ-PLGA NPs effectively ameliorated LPS-induced histopathological and ultrastructural alterations in the lung of rats. In addition, TQ-PLGA NPs significantly alleviated serum levels of IL-10 and TGF-β1 in LPS-induced rats. In conclusion, TQ-PLGA NPs prevented inflammation and tissue injury in the lungs of rats challenged with repetitive intratracheal installation of LPS. Therefore, TQ-PLGA NPs represent a promising candidate for the prevention of lung injury induced by LPS, pending further studies to determine its safety and exact protective mechanism.

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