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Pharmaceutics, Volume 13, Issue 4 (April 2021) – 155 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Extracellular vesicles (EVs) may reflect properties of their cellular origin, so this inherent biological capability can be exploited to elucidate their possible clinical applications. Various stem cells have been used to treat ischemic diseases, so stem-cell-derived EVs can be a possible alternative for treatment. For the clinical success of EV therapy in ischemic diseases, further comprehensive understanding is required. In the current study, EVs were isolated from human adipose-tissue-derived stem cells (ADSC), which is feasible in clinics. EVs secreted from the ADSC (ADSC-EVs) contain various angiogenic proteins in their compartments. ADSC-EVs promoted angiogenesis in both in vitro and in vivo mouse models, and they could be promising candidates for treating ischemic diseases. View this paper.
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Article
Cationic Single-Chained Surfactants with a Functional Group at the End of the Hydrophobic Tail DNA Compacting Efficiency
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 589; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040589 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 527
Abstract
The interaction between calf-thymus DNA, ctDNA, and various single-chained surfactants with different functional groups at the end of hydrophobic tail was studied with the goal of investigating the influence of the functional group nature on surfactant DNA compacting efficiency. The surfactants investigated were [...] Read more.
The interaction between calf-thymus DNA, ctDNA, and various single-chained surfactants with different functional groups at the end of hydrophobic tail was studied with the goal of investigating the influence of the functional group nature on surfactant DNA compacting efficiency. The surfactants investigated were dodecyltriethylammonium bromide (DTEABr), triethyl(1-phenoxydodecyl)ammonium bromide (12PhBr), triethyl(2-naphthoxydodecyl)ammonium bromide (12NBr) and 11-(isonicotinoyloxy)-N,N,N-triethyl-1-undecanaminium bromide (11PyBr). Results made evident that the surfactants’ tendencies to self-aggregation is the key factor determining their efficiency to compact the nucleic acid. Subsequently, DOPE/12NBr/pEGFP-C1 lipoplexes, with different cationic surfactant molar fractions (α) and mass ratios (L/D), were prepared and characterized. DOPE is a zwitterionic phospholipid 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine, and the plasmid pEGFP-C1 carries a GFP coding sequence with the necessary regulatory elements for constitutive expression of the gene in human cells. 12NBr was chosen because it was the most efficient DNA compacting agent among the surfactants investigated. Finally, the cytotoxicity and transfection efficiency (TE) of DOPE/12NBr/pDNA lipoplexes, with different compositions, were investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lipid-Based Nanocarriers for Non-Viral Gene Delivery)
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Article
Effects of the Off-Label Drug Prescription in the Paediatric Population in Spain from the Adoption of the Latest European Regulation: A Pre-Post Study
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 588; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040588 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 439
Abstract
The year 2021 marks the 15th anniversary of the Paediatric Regulation (1901/2006/EC) in Europe. The main aim of the study was to conduct a pre-post comparison on the annual off-label prescription rates in the under-18 population in Spain and assess the potential influence [...] Read more.
The year 2021 marks the 15th anniversary of the Paediatric Regulation (1901/2006/EC) in Europe. The main aim of the study was to conduct a pre-post comparison on the annual off-label prescription rates in the under-18 population in Spain and assess the potential influence of the Paediatric Regulation adoption. An observational study in the paediatric population was performed. Four cross-sectional annual periods, one before and the three latest periods after the adoption of the Regulation, were compared. Prescriptions in the primary health care setting were sorted by age group and drug and off-label status were determined. The number of off-label prescriptions issued by paediatricians was over two million per year. Prior to the adoption of the Paediatric Regulation, the off-label prescription rate was estimated at 7% of total prescriptions. Although the increase in the off-label rate over the study periods was mild, it was statistically significant (OR: 1.045; 95% CI: 1.043–1.046; p < 0.05). One of the most vulnerable population groups was neonates and infants up to 1 year, in which the off-label prescription rates showed the highest increase during the post follow-up period, which was statistically significant (OR: 4.270; 95% CI: 4.253–4.287; p < 0.05). The findings can help raise awareness and advocate for the development and authorization of medicines for children in the primary health care setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Adaptation of New and Better Pediatric Drugs)
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Review
Recent Biomedical Approaches for Chitosan Based Materials as Drug Delivery Nanocarriers
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 587; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040587 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 676
Abstract
In recent decades, drug delivery systems (DDSs) based on nanotechnology have been attracting substantial interest in the pharmaceutical field, especially those developed based on natural polymers such as chitosan, cellulose, starch, collagen, gelatin, alginate and elastin. Nanomaterials based on chitosan (CS) or chitosan [...] Read more.
In recent decades, drug delivery systems (DDSs) based on nanotechnology have been attracting substantial interest in the pharmaceutical field, especially those developed based on natural polymers such as chitosan, cellulose, starch, collagen, gelatin, alginate and elastin. Nanomaterials based on chitosan (CS) or chitosan derivatives are broadly investigated as promising nanocarriers due to their biodegradability, good biocompatibility, non-toxicity, low immunogenicity, great versatility and beneficial biological effects. CS, either alone or as composites, are suitable substrates in the fabrication of different types of products like hydrogels, membranes, beads, porous foams, nanoparticles, in-situ gel, microparticles, sponges and nanofibers/scaffolds. Currently, the CS based nanocarriers are intensely studied as controlled and targeted drug release systems for different drugs (anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, anticancer etc.) as well as for proteins/peptides, growth factors, vaccines, small DNA (DNAs) and short interfering RNA (siRNA). This review targets the latest biomedical approaches for CS based nanocarriers such as nanoparticles (NPs) nanofibers (NFs), nanogels (NGs) and chitosan coated liposomes (LPs) and their potential applications for medical and pharmaceutical fields. The advantages and challenges of reviewed CS based nanocarriers for different routes of administration (oral, transmucosal, pulmonary and transdermal) with reference to classical formulations are also emphasized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Nanoscience of Biomaterials for Biomedical Applications)
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Article
Characterization of Recombinant Adeno-Associated Viruses (rAAVs) for Gene Therapy Using Orthogonal Techniques
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 586; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040586 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 501
Abstract
Viruses are increasingly used as vectors for delivery of genetic material for gene therapy and vaccine applications. Recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAVs) are a class of viral vector that is being investigated intensively in the development of gene therapies. To develop efficient rAAV therapies [...] Read more.
Viruses are increasingly used as vectors for delivery of genetic material for gene therapy and vaccine applications. Recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAVs) are a class of viral vector that is being investigated intensively in the development of gene therapies. To develop efficient rAAV therapies produced through controlled and economical manufacturing processes, multiple challenges need to be addressed starting from viral capsid design through identification of optimal process and formulation conditions to comprehensive quality control. Addressing these challenges requires fit-for-purpose analytics for extensive characterization of rAAV samples including measurements of capsid or particle titer, percentage of full rAAV particles, particle size, aggregate formation, thermal stability, genome release, and capsid charge, all of which may impact critical quality attributes of the final product. Importantly, there is a need for rapid analytical solutions not relying on the use of dedicated reagents and costly reference standards. In this study, we evaluate the capabilities of dynamic light scattering, multiangle dynamic light scattering, and SEC–MALS for analyses of rAAV5 samples in a broad range of viral concentrations (titers) at different levels of genome loading, sample heterogeneity, and sample conditions. The study shows that DLS and MADLS® can be used to determine the size of full and empty rAAV5 (27 ± 0.3 and 33 ± 0.4 nm, respectively). A linear range for rAAV5 size and titer determination with MADLS was established to be 4.4 × 1011–8.7 × 1013 cp/mL for the nominally full rAAV5 samples and 3.4 × 1011–7 × 1013 cp/mL for the nominally empty rAAV5 samples with 3–8% and 10–37% CV for the full and empty rAAV5 samples, respectively. The structural stability and viral load release were also inferred from a combination of DLS, SEC–MALS, and DSC. The structural characteristics of the rAAV5 start to change from 40 °C onward, with increasing aggregation observed. With this study, we explored and demonstrated the applicability and value of orthogonal and complementary label-free technologies for enhanced serotype-independent characterization of key properties and stability profiles of rAAV5 samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Characterization Methods for Drug Delivery Systems)
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Article
Polymeric Caffeic Acid Acts as a Nasal Vaccine Formulation against Streptococcus pneumoniae Infections in Mice
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 585; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040585 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 501
Abstract
Infectious diseases are the second leading cause of death worldwide, highlighting the importance of the development of a novel and improved strategy for fighting pathogenic microbes. Streptococcus pneumoniae is a highly pathogenic bacteria that causes pneumonia with high mortality rates, especially in children [...] Read more.
Infectious diseases are the second leading cause of death worldwide, highlighting the importance of the development of a novel and improved strategy for fighting pathogenic microbes. Streptococcus pneumoniae is a highly pathogenic bacteria that causes pneumonia with high mortality rates, especially in children and elderly individuals. To solve these issues, a mucosal vaccine system would be the best solution for the prevention and treatment of these diseases. We have recently reported that enzymatically polymerized caffeic acid (pCA) acts as a mucosal adjuvant when co-administered with antigenic proteins via the nasal route. Moreover, the sources of caffeic acid and horseradish peroxidase are ingredients found commonly in coffee beans and horseradish, respectively. In this study, we aimed to develop a pneumococcal nasal vaccine comprising pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA) and pCA as the mucosal adjuvant. Intranasal immunization with PspA and pCA induced the production of PspA-specific antibody responses in the mucosal and systemic compartments. Furthermore, the protective effects were tested in a murine model of S. pneumoniae infection. Intranasal vaccination conferred antigen-dependent protective immunity against a lethal infection of S. pneumoniae. In conclusion, pCA is useful as a serotype-independent universal nasal pneumococcal vaccine formulation. Full article
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Article
Development of a Lyophilization Process for Long-Term Storage of Albumin-Based Perfluorodecalin-Filled Artificial Oxygen Carriers
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 584; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040584 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 406
Abstract
Every day, thousands of patients receive erythrocyte concentrates (ECs). They are indispensable for modern medicine, despite their limited resource. Artificial oxygen carriers (AOCs) represent a promising approach to reduce the need for ECs. One form of AOCs is perfluorodecalin-filled albumin-based nanocapsules. However, these [...] Read more.
Every day, thousands of patients receive erythrocyte concentrates (ECs). They are indispensable for modern medicine, despite their limited resource. Artificial oxygen carriers (AOCs) represent a promising approach to reduce the need for ECs. One form of AOCs is perfluorodecalin-filled albumin-based nanocapsules. However, these AOCs are not storable and need to be applied directly after production. In this condition, they are not suitable as a medicinal product for practical use yet. Lyophilization (freeze drying) could provide the possibility of durable and applicable nanocapsules. In the present study, a suitable lyophilization process for perfluorodecalin-filled nanocapsules was developed. The nanocapsules were physicochemically characterized regarding capsule size, polydispersity, and oxygen capacity. Even though the perfluorodecalin-filled albumin-based nanocapsules showed a loss in oxygen capacity directly after lyophilization, they still provided a remarkable residual capacity. This capacity did not decline further for over two months of storage. Furthermore, the nanocapsule size remained unaltered for over one year. Therefore, the AOCs were still applicable and functional after long-term storage due to the successful lyophilization. Full article
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Article
Engineering of Saposin C Protein Chimeras for Enhanced Cytotoxicity and Optimized Liposome Binding Capability
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 583; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040583 - 19 Apr 2021
Viewed by 458
Abstract
Saposin C (sapC) is a lysosomal, peripheral-membrane protein displaying liposome fusogenic capabilities. Proteoliposomes of sapC and phosphatidylserine have been shown to be toxic for cancer cells and are currently on clinical trial to treat glioblastoma. As proof-of-concept, we show two strategies to enhance [...] Read more.
Saposin C (sapC) is a lysosomal, peripheral-membrane protein displaying liposome fusogenic capabilities. Proteoliposomes of sapC and phosphatidylserine have been shown to be toxic for cancer cells and are currently on clinical trial to treat glioblastoma. As proof-of-concept, we show two strategies to enhance the applications of sapC proteoliposomes: (1) Engineering chimeras composed of sapC to modulate proteoliposome function; (2) Engineering sapC to modify its lipid binding capabilities. In the chimera design, sapC is linked to a cell death-inducing peptide: the BH3 domain of the Bcl-2 protein PUMA. We show by solution NMR and dynamic light scattering that the chimera is functional at the molecular level by fusing liposomes and by interacting with prosurvival Bcl-xL, which is PUMA’s known mechanism to induce cell death. Furthermore, sapC-PUMA proteoliposomes enhance cytotoxicity in glioblastoma cells compared to sapC. Finally, the sapC domain of the chimera has been engineered to optimize liposome binding at pH close to physiological values as protein–lipid interactions are favored at acidic pH in the native protein. Altogether, our results indicate that the properties of sapC proteoliposomes can be modified by engineering the protein surface and by the addition of small peptides as fusion constructs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biologics and Biosimilars)
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Article
ELISA- and Activity Assay-Based Quantification of BMP-2 Released In Vitro Can Be Biased by Solubility in “Physiological” Buffers and an Interfering Effect of Chitosan
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 582; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040582 - 19 Apr 2021
Viewed by 419
Abstract
Chitosan nanogel-coated polycaprolactone (PCL) fiber mat-based implant prototypes with tailored release of bone morphogenic protein 2 (BMP-2) are a promising approach to achieve implant-mediated bone regeneration. In order to ensure reliable in vitro release results, the robustness of a commercially available ELISA for [...] Read more.
Chitosan nanogel-coated polycaprolactone (PCL) fiber mat-based implant prototypes with tailored release of bone morphogenic protein 2 (BMP-2) are a promising approach to achieve implant-mediated bone regeneration. In order to ensure reliable in vitro release results, the robustness of a commercially available ELISA for E. coli-derived BMP-2 and the parallel determination of BMP-2 recovery using a quantitative biological activity assay were investigated within a common release setup, with special reference to solubility and matrix effects. Without bovine serum albumin and Tween 20 as solubilizing additives to release media buffed at physiological pH, BMP-2 recoveries after release were notably reduced. In contrast, the addition of chitosan to release samples caused an excessive recovery. A possible explanation for these effects is the reversible aggregation tendency of BMP-2, which might be influenced by an interaction with chitosan. The interfering effects highlighted in this study are of great importance for bio-assay-based BMP-2 quantification, especially in the context of pharmaceutical release experiments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanoparticles for Delivery of Therapeutic Proteins)
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Article
Sesame Oil-Based Nanostructured Lipid Carriers of Nicergoline, Intranasal Delivery System for Brain Targeting of Synergistic Cerebrovascular Protection
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 581; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040581 - 19 Apr 2021
Viewed by 413
Abstract
Nicergoline (NIC) is a semisynthetic ergot alkaloid derivative applied for treatment of dementia and other cerebrovascular disorders. The efficacy of sesame oil to slow and reverse the symptoms of neurodegenerative cognitive disorders has been proven. This work aimed to formulate and optimize sesame [...] Read more.
Nicergoline (NIC) is a semisynthetic ergot alkaloid derivative applied for treatment of dementia and other cerebrovascular disorders. The efficacy of sesame oil to slow and reverse the symptoms of neurodegenerative cognitive disorders has been proven. This work aimed to formulate and optimize sesame oil-based NIC-nanostructured lipid carriers (NIC–NLCs) for intranasal (IN) delivery with expected synergistic and augmented neuroprotective properties. The NIC–NLC were prepared using sesame oil as a liquid lipid. A three-level, three-factor Box–Behnken design was applied to statistically optimize the effect of sesame oil (%) of the total lipid, surfactant concentration, and sonication time on particle size, zeta potential, and entrapment efficacy as responses. Solid-state characterization, release profile, and ex vivo nasal permeation in comparison to NIC solution (NIC–SOL) was studied. In vivo bioavailability from optimized NIC–NLC and NIC–SOL following IN and IV administration was evaluated and compared. The optimized NIC–NLC formula showed an average particle size of 111.18 nm, zeta potential of −15.4 mV, 95.11% entrapment efficacy (%), and 4.6% loading capacity. The NIC–NLC formula showed a biphasic, extended-release profile (72% after 48 h). Permeation of the NIC–NLC formula showed a 2.3 enhancement ratio. Bioavailability studies showed a 1.67 and 4.57 fold increase in plasma and brain following IN administration. The results also indicated efficient direct nose-to-brain targeting properties with the brain-targeting efficiency (BTE%) and direct transport percentage (DTP%) of 187.3% and 56.6%, respectively, after IN administration. Thus, sesame oil-based NIC–NLC can be considered as a promising IN delivery system for direct and efficient brain targeting with improved bioavailability and expected augmented neuroprotective action for the treatment of dementia. Full article
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Article
In-Depth Comparison of Dry Particle Coating Processes Used in DPI Particle Engineering
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 580; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040580 - 19 Apr 2021
Viewed by 515
Abstract
High-shear mixer coatings as well as mechanofusion processes are used in the particle-engineering of dry powder inhalation carrier systems. The aim of coating the carrier particle is usually to decrease carrier–drug adhesion. This study comprises the in-depth comparison of two established dry particle [...] Read more.
High-shear mixer coatings as well as mechanofusion processes are used in the particle-engineering of dry powder inhalation carrier systems. The aim of coating the carrier particle is usually to decrease carrier–drug adhesion. This study comprises the in-depth comparison of two established dry particle coating options. Both processes were conducted with and without a model additive (magnesium stearate). In doing so, changes in the behaviour of the processed particles can be traced back to either the process or the additive. It can be stated that the coarse model carrier showed no significant changes when processed without additives. By coating the particles with magnesium stearate, the surface energy decreased significantly. This leads to a significant enhancement of the aerodynamic performance of the respective carrier-based blends. Comparing the engineered carriers with each other, the high-shear mixer coating shows significant benefits, namely, lower drug–carrier adhesion and the higher efficiency of the coating process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Characterization of Inhalation Medicinal Products)
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Article
Design and Evaluation of Dissolving Microneedles for Enhanced Dermal Delivery of Propranolol Hydrochloride
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 579; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040579 - 19 Apr 2021
Viewed by 484
Abstract
Oral propranolol hydrochloride has been the first-line treatment for infantile hemangioma (IH), whereas systemic exposure to propranolol has the potential of causing serious adverse reactions. Dermal delivery of propranolol is preferable due to high local drug concentration and fewer adverse effects. However, propranolol [...] Read more.
Oral propranolol hydrochloride has been the first-line treatment for infantile hemangioma (IH), whereas systemic exposure to propranolol has the potential of causing serious adverse reactions. Dermal delivery of propranolol is preferable due to high local drug concentration and fewer adverse effects. However, propranolol hydrochloride (BCS class I) is highly hydrophilic and has difficulty in penetrating the stratum corneum (SC) barrier. Dissolving microneedles (MNs) are an efficient tool for overcoming the barrier of the SC and enhancing dermal drug delivery. In this study, propranolol hydrochloride-loaded dissolving MNs were fabricated by using hyaluronic acid and polyvinyl pyrrolidone as matrix materials. Controllable drug loading in needle tips was achieved by a two-step casting procedure. The needles were good in mechanical strength for penetrating the SC while presented excellent dissolving capability for releasing propranolol hydrochloride. In comparison with the solution counterpart, irrespective of being applied to intact skin or solid MNs-pretreated skin, dissolving MNs significantly increased the permeability and skin retention of propranolol. In conclusion, dissolving MNs could be a potential approach for enhancing dermal delivery of propranolol to treat IH. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Delivery and Penetration through Skin and Its Formulations)
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Article
In Silico Selection and Evaluation of Pugnins with Antibacterial and Anticancer Activity Using Skin Transcriptome of Treefrog (Boana pugnax)
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 578; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040578 - 18 Apr 2021
Viewed by 632
Abstract
In order to combat bacterial and cancer resistance, we identified peptides (pugnins) with dual antibacterial l–anticancer activity from the Boana pugnax (B. pugnax) skin transcriptome through in silico analysis. Pugnins A and B were selected owing to their high similarity to [...] Read more.
In order to combat bacterial and cancer resistance, we identified peptides (pugnins) with dual antibacterial l–anticancer activity from the Boana pugnax (B. pugnax) skin transcriptome through in silico analysis. Pugnins A and B were selected owing to their high similarity to the DS4.3 peptide, which served as a template for their alignment to the B. pugnax transcriptome, as well as their function as part of a voltage-dependent potassium channel protein. The secondary peptide structure stability in aqueous medium was evaluated as well, and after interaction with the Escherichia coli (E. coli) membrane model using molecular dynamics. These pugnins were synthesized via solid-phase synthesis strategy and verified by Reverse phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) and mass spectrometry. Subsequently, their alpha-helix structure was determined by circular dichroism, after which antibacterial tests were then performed to evaluate their antimicrobial activity. Cytotoxicity tests against cancer cells also showed selectivity of pugnin A toward breast cancer (MFC7) cells, and pugnin B toward prostate cancer (PC3) cells. Alternatively, flow cytometry revealed necrotic cell damage with a major cytotoxic effect on human keratinocytes (HaCaT) control cells. Therefore, the pugnins found in the transcriptome of B. pugnax present dual antibacterial–anticancer activity with reduced selectivity to normal eukaryotic cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmaceutical Applications of Bioactive Peptides)
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Article
The Impact of an Efflux Pump Inhibitor on the Activity of Free and Liposomal Antibiotics against Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 577; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040577 - 18 Apr 2021
Viewed by 428
Abstract
The eradication of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in cystic fibrosis patients has become continuously difficult due to its increased resistance to treatments. This study assessed the efficacy of free and liposomal gentamicin and erythromycin, combined with Phenylalanine arginine beta-naphthylamide (PABN), a broad-spectrum efflux pump inhibitor, [...] Read more.
The eradication of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in cystic fibrosis patients has become continuously difficult due to its increased resistance to treatments. This study assessed the efficacy of free and liposomal gentamicin and erythromycin, combined with Phenylalanine arginine beta-naphthylamide (PABN), a broad-spectrum efflux pump inhibitor, against P. aeruginosa isolates. Liposomes were prepared and characterized for their sizes and encapsulation efficiencies. The antimicrobial activities of formulations were determined by the microbroth dilution method. Their activity on P. aeruginosa biofilms was assessed, and the effect of sub-inhibitory concentrations on bacterial virulence factors, quorum sensing (QS) signals and bacterial motility was also evaluated. The average diameters of liposomes were 562.67 ± 33.74 nm for gentamicin and 3086.35 ± 553.95 nm for erythromycin, with encapsulation efficiencies of 13.89 ± 1.54% and 51.58 ± 2.84%, respectively. Liposomes and PABN combinations potentiated antibiotics by reducing minimum inhibitory and bactericidal concentrations by 4–32 fold overall. The formulations significantly inhibited biofilm formation and differentially attenuated virulence factor production as well as motility. Unexpectedly, QS signal production was not affected by treatments. Taken together, the results indicate that PABN shows potential as an adjuvant of liposomal macrolides and aminoglycosides in the management of lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers Enhancing Bioavailability in Drug Delivery)
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Article
Spray-Dried Formulation of Epicertin, a Recombinant Cholera Toxin B Subunit Variant That Induces Mucosal Healing
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 576; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040576 - 18 Apr 2021
Viewed by 421
Abstract
Epicertin (EPT) is a recombinant variant of the cholera toxin B subunit, modified with a C-terminal KDEL endoplasmic reticulum retention motif. EPT has therapeutic potential for ulcerative colitis treatment. Previously, orally administered EPT demonstrated colon epithelial repair activity in dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced [...] Read more.
Epicertin (EPT) is a recombinant variant of the cholera toxin B subunit, modified with a C-terminal KDEL endoplasmic reticulum retention motif. EPT has therapeutic potential for ulcerative colitis treatment. Previously, orally administered EPT demonstrated colon epithelial repair activity in dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced acute and chronic colitis in mice. However, the oral dosing requires cumbersome pretreatment with sodium bicarbonate to conserve the acid-labile drug substance while transit through the stomach, hampering its facile application in chronic disease treatment. Here, we developed a solid oral formulation of EPT that circumvents degradation in gastric acid. EPT was spray-dried and packed into enteric-coated capsules to allow for pH-dependent release in the colon. A GM1-capture KDEL-detection ELISA and size-exclusion HPLC indicated that EPT powder maintains activity and structural stability for up to 9 months. Capsule disintegration tests showed that EPT remained encapsulated at pH 1 but was released over 180 min at pH 6.8, the approximate pH of the proximal colon. An acute DSS colitis study confirmed the therapeutic efficacy of encapsulated EPT in C57BL/6 mice upon oral administration without gastric acid neutralization pretreatment compared to vehicle-treated mice (p < 0.05). These results provide a foundation for an enteric-coated oral formulation of spray-dried EPT. Full article
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Article
BSA-Silver Nanoparticles: A Potential Multimodal Therapeutics for Conventional and Photothermal Treatment of Skin Cancer
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 575; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040575 - 17 Apr 2021
Viewed by 407
Abstract
Silver nanoparticles (NPs) have attracted a considerable interest in the field of cancer research due to their potential utility in cancer therapy. In the present study, we developed bovine serum albumin (BSA)-coated silver NPs (BSA-Silver NPs) and characterized in vitro multimodal therapeutic activities [...] Read more.
Silver nanoparticles (NPs) have attracted a considerable interest in the field of cancer research due to their potential utility in cancer therapy. In the present study, we developed bovine serum albumin (BSA)-coated silver NPs (BSA-Silver NPs) and characterized in vitro multimodal therapeutic activities of NPs for the treatment of skin cancer. BSA-Silver NPs were synthesized by a single-step reduction process, and the successful preparation was verified through a list of physical characterizations, including transmission electron microscopy (TEM), ultraviolet-visible (UV–VIS) light spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering (DLS), and Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. The synthesized BSA-Silver NPs showed marked cytocidal effects on B16F10 melanoma cells, which was likely caused by oxidative stress. BSA-Silver NPs also elicited significant anti-angiogenic effects on HUVEC (human umbilical vein endothelial cell) by inhibiting their proliferation, migration, and tube formation. Moreover, BSA-Silver NPs showed a considerable light-to-heat conversion ability, suggesting their utility as photothermal agents. Overall, our findings suggest that BSA-Silver NPs may be promising candidates for the multimodal therapy of skin cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Advanced Pharmaceutical Science and Technology in Korea)
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Article
Pharmacokinetic Model Analysis of Supralingual, Oral and Intravenous Deliveries of Mycophenolic Acid
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 574; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040574 - 17 Apr 2021
Viewed by 340
Abstract
Mycophenolic acid (MPA) is commonly used for organ rejection prophylaxis via oral administration in the clinic. Recent studies have shown that MPA also has anticancer activities. To explore new therapeutic options for oral precancerous/cancerous lesions, MPA was designed to release topically on the [...] Read more.
Mycophenolic acid (MPA) is commonly used for organ rejection prophylaxis via oral administration in the clinic. Recent studies have shown that MPA also has anticancer activities. To explore new therapeutic options for oral precancerous/cancerous lesions, MPA was designed to release topically on the dorsal tongue surface via a mucoadhesive patch. The objective of this study was to establish the pharmacokinetic (PK) and tongue tissue distribution of mucoadhesive MPA patch formulation after supralingual administration in rats and also compare the PK differences between oral, intravenous, and supralingual administration of MPA. Blood samples were collected from Sprague Dawley rats before and after a single intravenous bolus injection, a single oral dose, or a mucoadhesive patch administration on the dorsal tongue surface for 4 h, all with a dose of 0.5 mg/kg of MPA. Plots of MPA plasma concentration versus time were obtained. As multiple peaks were found in all three curves, the enterohepatic recycling (EHR) model in the Phoenix software was adapted to describe their PK parameters with an individual PK analysis method. The mean half-lives of intravenous and oral administrations were 10.5 h and 7.4 h, respectively. The estimated bioavailability after oral and supralingual administration was 72.4% and 7.6%, respectively. There was a 0.5 h lag-time presented after supralingual administration. The results suggest that the systemic plasma MPA concentrations were much lower in rats receiving supralingual administration compared to those receiving doses from the other two routes, and the amount of MPA accumulated in the tongue after patch application showed a sustained drug release pattern. Studies on the dynamic of drug retention in the tongue after supralingual administration showed that ~3.8% of the dose was accumulated inside of tongue right after the patch removal, ~0.11% of the dose remained after 20 h, and ~20.6% of MPA was not released from the patches 4 h after application. The data demonstrate that supralingual application of an MPA patch can deliver a high amount of drug at the site of administration with little systemic circulation exposure, hence lowering the potential gastrointestinal side effects associated with oral administration. Thus, supralingual administration is a potential alternative route for treating oral lesions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transport and Metabolism of Small-Molecule Drugs)
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Article
Is it Worth Combining Solidago virgaurea Extract and Antibiotics against Uropathogenic Escherichia coli rods? An In Vitro Model Study
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 573; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040573 - 17 Apr 2021
Viewed by 369
Abstract
European goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea L.) has long been applied in traditional medicine and recommended in the prophylaxis of urinary tract infections (UTIs). However, research describing the antibacterial properties of goldenrod is very limited. Therefore, the aim of the study was to determine [...] Read more.
European goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea L.) has long been applied in traditional medicine and recommended in the prophylaxis of urinary tract infections (UTIs). However, research describing the antibacterial properties of goldenrod is very limited. Therefore, the aim of the study was to determine the effect of S. virgaurea extract on the survival and biofilm formation of uropathogenic Escherichia coli. The interactions between the goldenrod extract and antibiotics used in UTIs were established. The influence of the extract on the duration of the post-antibiotic effects (PAE) and post-antibiotic sub-MIC effects (PASME) of amikacin and ciprofloxacin were determined. Extract composition was analyzed using coupled UHPLC/MS and the spectrophotometric method. The survival of bacteria was established using the serial dilution assay. The crystal violet assay for biofilm quantification was also used. PAE and PASME were investigated using the viable count method. The obtained results indicate that S. virgaurea extract limits the survival of planktonic forms of bacteria and reduces 24-h biofilm. However, the combination of S. virgaurea extract with antibiotics weakens their antibacterial activity and shortens the duration of PAE and PASME. Therefore, when deciding to use a combination of S. virgaurea extract and amikacin/ciprofloxacin, it is necessary to take into account their antagonistic activity. Full article
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Article
Quantification of Teicoplanin Using the HPLC-UV Method for Clinical Applications in Critically Ill Patients in Korea
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 572; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040572 - 17 Apr 2021
Viewed by 394
Abstract
A high-performance liquid chromatography-ultraviolet detector (HPLC-UV) method has been used to quantify teicoplanin concentrations in human plasma. However, the limited analytical accuracy of previously bioanalytical methods for teicoplanin has given rise to uncertainty due to the use of an external standard. In this [...] Read more.
A high-performance liquid chromatography-ultraviolet detector (HPLC-UV) method has been used to quantify teicoplanin concentrations in human plasma. However, the limited analytical accuracy of previously bioanalytical methods for teicoplanin has given rise to uncertainty due to the use of an external standard. In this study, an internal standard (IS), polymyxin B, was applied to devise a precise, accurate, and feasible HPLC-UV method. The deproteinized plasma sample containing teicoplanin and an IS of acetonitrile was chromatographed on a C18 column with an acidic mobile phase consisting of NaH2PO4 buffer and acetonitrile (78:22, v/v) by isocratic elution and detection at 220 nm. The linearity was in the range 7.8–500 mg/L calculated by the ratio of the teicoplanin signal to the IS signal. This analytical method, validated by FDA guidelines with ICH Q2 (R1), was successfully applied to analyze the plasma samples of patients in the intensive care unit for treating serious resistant bacterial infectious diseases, such as those by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis. The methods suggested the potential for use in routine clinical practice for therapeutic drug monitoring of teicoplanin, providing both improved accuracy and a wide range of linearity from lower than steady-state trough concentrations (10 mg/L) to much higher concentrations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioanalysis and Metabolomics)
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Article
Assessment of Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers for Long-Term Use, Formulated with Addition of Natural Ingredients in Comparison to WHO Formulation 1
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 571; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040571 - 17 Apr 2021
Viewed by 771
Abstract
During the spread of COVID-19, many laboratories used the “Formulation 1” proposed by the World Health Organization to prepare hand sanitizers. Taking into consideration its ingredients and the prolonged use of hand sanitizers, “Formulation 1” (P1) was compared with [...] Read more.
During the spread of COVID-19, many laboratories used the “Formulation 1” proposed by the World Health Organization to prepare hand sanitizers. Taking into consideration its ingredients and the prolonged use of hand sanitizers, “Formulation 1” (P1) was compared with two gel formulations (P2 and P3) prepared with the addition of natural emollients and two different viscosity enhancers to define their chemical–physical stability, biocidal efficacy, and in vivo acceptability and tolerability. P1 resulted in the most efficient biocide but was poorly tolerated by the skin and not acceptable in volunteer hedonic evaluation, especially in terms of irritation and drying effect, with an expectable reduction in the compliance. Moreover, its liquid formulation is unpractical and can cause ethanol evaporation. P2 and P3 proved to be both good products regarding pH and alcohol strength values. However, in terms of viscosity, texture, ease of use, and application, P3 seemed to be a better gel product than P2. Moreover, they were well tolerated by the skin, increasing the hydration of the stratum corneum, due to the addition of Calendula officinalis and Aloe vera. Despite a lower ethanol concentration than P1, P2 and P3 also showed a good biocide efficiency, with better results in P2. In conclusion, these gel formulations proved to be more convenient for long-term use with a good balance between efficacy, safety, and compatibility with the skin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Pharmaceutics)
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Review
Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles: Properties and Strategies for Enhancing Clinical Effect
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 570; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040570 - 17 Apr 2021
Viewed by 602
Abstract
Due to the theragnostic potential of mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs), these were extensively investigated as a novel approach to improve clinical outcomes. Boasting an impressive array of formulations and modifications, MSNs demonstrate significant in vivo efficacy when used to identify or treat myriad [...] Read more.
Due to the theragnostic potential of mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs), these were extensively investigated as a novel approach to improve clinical outcomes. Boasting an impressive array of formulations and modifications, MSNs demonstrate significant in vivo efficacy when used to identify or treat myriad malignant diseases in preclinical models. As MSNs continue transitioning into clinical trials, a thorough understanding of the characteristics of effective MSNs is necessary. This review highlights recent discoveries and advances in MSN understanding and technology. Specific focus is given to cancer theragnostic approaches using MSNs. Characteristics of MSNs such as size, shape, and surface properties are discussed in relation to effective nanomedicine practice and projected clinical efficacy. Additionally, tumor-targeting options used with MSNs are presented with extensive discussion on active-targeting molecules. Methods for decreasing MSN toxicity, improving site-specific delivery, and controlling release of loaded molecules are further explained. Challenges facing the field and translation to clinical environments are presented alongside potential avenues for continuing investigations. Full article
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Review
Oncogenic and Tumor Suppressive Components of the Cell Cycle in Breast Cancer Progression and Prognosis
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 569; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040569 - 17 Apr 2021
Viewed by 456
Abstract
Cancer, a disease of inappropriate cell proliferation, is strongly interconnected with the cell cycle. All cancers consist of an abnormal accumulation of neoplastic cells, which are propagated toward uncontrolled cell division and proliferation in response to mitogenic signals. Mitogenic stimuli include genetic and [...] Read more.
Cancer, a disease of inappropriate cell proliferation, is strongly interconnected with the cell cycle. All cancers consist of an abnormal accumulation of neoplastic cells, which are propagated toward uncontrolled cell division and proliferation in response to mitogenic signals. Mitogenic stimuli include genetic and epigenetic changes in cell cycle regulatory genes and other genes which regulate the cell cycle. This suggests that multiple, distinct pathways of genetic alterations lead to cancer development. Products of both oncogenes (including cyclin-dependent kinase (CDKs) and cyclins) and tumor suppressor genes (including cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors) regulate cell cycle machinery and promote or suppress cell cycle progression, respectively. The identification of cyclins and CDKs help to explain and understand the molecular mechanisms of cell cycle machinery. During breast cancer tumorigenesis, cyclins A, B, C, D1, and E; cyclin-dependent kinase (CDKs); and CDK-inhibitor proteins p16, p21, p27, and p53 are known to play significant roles in cell cycle control and are tightly regulated in normal breast epithelial cells. Following mitogenic stimuli, these components are deregulated, which promotes neoplastic transformation of breast epithelial cells. Multiple studies implicate the roles of both types of components—oncogenic CDKs and cyclins, along with tumor-suppressing cyclin-dependent inhibitors—in breast cancer initiation and progression. Numerous clinical studies have confirmed that there is a prognostic significance for screening for these described components, regarding patient outcomes and their responses to therapy. The aim of this review article is to summarize the roles of oncogenic and tumor-suppressive components of the cell cycle in breast cancer progression and prognosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Anticancer Strategies (Volume II))
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Article
Dexamethasone-Loaded Bioactive Coatings on Medical Grade Stainless Steel Promote Osteointegration
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 568; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040568 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 472
Abstract
In this study, a multilayer bioactive coating based on carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) and dexamethasone (DEX) was prepared on medical-grade stainless steel (AISI 316LVM). Its aim was the controlled drug delivery of the incorporated anti‑inflammatory drug, which at the same time promotes osteogenic differentiation [...] Read more.
In this study, a multilayer bioactive coating based on carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) and dexamethasone (DEX) was prepared on medical-grade stainless steel (AISI 316LVM). Its aim was the controlled drug delivery of the incorporated anti‑inflammatory drug, which at the same time promotes osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells. Due to DEX’s limited solubility in physiological fluids, which limits the loading capacity of coatings, it was further combined with β-cyclodextrin to increase its concentration in the bioactive coating. Controlled release of DEX from the multilayer coating was achieved in four steps: a “burst”, i.e., very fast, release step (in an immersion interval of 0–10 min), a fast release step (10–30 min), a slow-release step (60–360 min), and a plateau step (360–4320 min), following a zero-order release or Higuchi model release mechanism. Successful layer-by-layer coating formation was confirmed using attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR). It was shown that the application of the coating significantly increases the hydrophilic character of AISI 316LVM, and also significantly increases the surface roughness, which is known to promote cell growth. In addition, electrochemical measurements demonstrated that the coating application does not increase the susceptibility of medical-grade stainless steel to corrosion. In vitro cell testing using all cell types with which such coatings come into contact in the body (osteoblasts, chondrocytes, and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)) showed very good biocompatibility towards all of the mentioned cells. It further confirmed that the coatings promoted MSCs osteogenic differentiation, which is the desired mode of action for orthopedic implants. Full article
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Article
Efficacy and Safety of Azelaic Acid Nanocrystal-Loaded In Situ Hydrogel in the Treatment of Acne Vulgaris
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 567; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040567 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 414
Abstract
Acne vulgaris is a common, multifactorial, inflammatory skin disease affecting the pilosebaceous unit. Topical therapy is the first choice in the treatment of mild to moderate acne, and azelaic acid (AZA) is one of the most commonly used drugs. The aim of this [...] Read more.
Acne vulgaris is a common, multifactorial, inflammatory skin disease affecting the pilosebaceous unit. Topical therapy is the first choice in the treatment of mild to moderate acne, and azelaic acid (AZA) is one of the most commonly used drugs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a low-dose azelaic acid nanocrystal (AZA-NC) hydrogel in the treatment of mild to moderate facial acne. The study was designed as a double-blind, randomized controlled trial. Patients were randomized to treatment with AZA-NC hydrogel, 10%, or AZA cream, 20%, administered in quantities of approximately 1 g twice daily for 8 weeks. Efficacy of therapy was measured by the number of lesions and safety by the frequency and severity of adverse events. At week 8, the success rate of treatment with AZA-NC hydrogel, 10%, was 36.51% (p < 0.001) versus 30.37% (p < 0.001) with AZA cream. At week 8, treatment with AZA-NC hydrogel, 10%, resulted in a significant reduction in total inflammatory lesions from baseline of 39.15% (p < 0.001) versus 33.76% (p < 0.001) with AZA cream, and a reduction in non-inflammatory lesions from baseline of 34.58% (p < 0.001) versus 27.96% (p < 0.001) with AZA cream, respectively. The adverse event rate was low and mostly mild. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Drug Delivery and Controlled Release)
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Article
Encapsulation of ε-Viniferin into Multi-Lamellar Liposomes: Development of a Rapid, Easy and Cost-Efficient Separation Method to Determine the Encapsulation Efficiency
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 566; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040566 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 359
Abstract
Onion-type multi-lamellar liposomes (MLLs), composed of a mixture of phosphatidylcholine and Tween 80, were analyzed for their ability to encapsulate ε-Viniferin (εVin), a resveratrol dimer. Their encapsulation efficiency (EE) was measured by UV-VIS spectroscopy using three different separation methods—ultracentrifugation, size exclusion chromatography, and [...] Read more.
Onion-type multi-lamellar liposomes (MLLs), composed of a mixture of phosphatidylcholine and Tween 80, were analyzed for their ability to encapsulate ε-Viniferin (εVin), a resveratrol dimer. Their encapsulation efficiency (EE) was measured by UV-VIS spectroscopy using three different separation methods—ultracentrifugation, size exclusion chromatography, and a more original and advantageous one, based on adsorption filtration. The adsorption filtration method consists indeed of using syringe filters to retain the molecule of interest, and not the liposomes as usually performed. The process is rapid (less than 10 min), easy to handle, and inexpensive in terms of sample amount (around 2 mg of liposomes) and equipment (one syringe filter is required). Whatever the separation method, a similar EE value was determined, validating the proposed method. A total of 80% ± 4% of εVin was found to be encapsulated leading to a 6.1% payload, roughly twice those reported for resveratrol-loaded liposomes. Finally, the release kinetics of εVin from MLLs was followed for a 77 day period, demonstrating a slow release of the polyphenol. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liposomal Drug Delivery Systems)
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Article
Development, Characterization, and Ex Vivo Assessment of Elastic Liposomes for Enhancing the Buccal Delivery of Insulin
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 565; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040565 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 642
Abstract
Buccal drug delivery is a suitable alternative to invasive routes of drug administration. The buccal administration of insulin for the management of diabetes has received substantial attention worldwide. The main aim of this study was to develop and characterize elastic liposomes and assess [...] Read more.
Buccal drug delivery is a suitable alternative to invasive routes of drug administration. The buccal administration of insulin for the management of diabetes has received substantial attention worldwide. The main aim of this study was to develop and characterize elastic liposomes and assess their permeability across porcine buccal tissues. Sodium-cholate-incorporated elastic liposomes (SC-EL) and sodium-glycodeoxycholate-incorporated elastic liposomes (SGDC-EL) were prepared using the thin-film hydration method. The prepared liposomes were characterized and their ex vivo permeability attributes were investigated. The distribution of the SC-EL and SGDC-EL across porcine buccal tissues was evaluated using confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). The SGDC-EL were the most superior nanocarriers since they significantly enhanced the permeation of insulin across porcine buccal tissues, displaying a 4.33-fold increase in the permeability coefficient compared with the insulin solution. Compared with the SC-EL, the SGDC-EL were better at facilitating insulin permeability, with a 3.70-fold increase in the permeability coefficient across porcine buccal tissue. These findings were further corroborated based on bioimaging analysis using CLSM. SGDC-ELs showed the greatest fluorescence intensity in buccal tissues, as evidenced by the greater shift of fluorescence intensity toward the inner buccal tissue over time. The fluorescence intensity ranked as follows: SGDC-EL > SC-EL > FITC–insulin solution. Conclusively, this study highlighted the potential nanocarriers for enhancing the buccal permeability of insulin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in the Use of Phospholipids in Drug Delivery)
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Article
Hybrid 3D Printing of Advanced Hydrogel-Based Wound Dressings with Tailorable Properties
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 564; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040564 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 490
Abstract
Despite the extensive utilization of polysaccharide hydrogels in regenerative medicine, current fabrication methods fail to produce mechanically stable scaffolds using only hydrogels. The recently developed hybrid extrusion-based bioprinting process promises to resolve these current issues by facilitating the simultaneous printing of stiff thermoplastic [...] Read more.
Despite the extensive utilization of polysaccharide hydrogels in regenerative medicine, current fabrication methods fail to produce mechanically stable scaffolds using only hydrogels. The recently developed hybrid extrusion-based bioprinting process promises to resolve these current issues by facilitating the simultaneous printing of stiff thermoplastic polymers and softer hydrogels at different temperatures. Using layer-by-layer deposition, mechanically advantageous scaffolds can be produced by integrating the softer hydrogel matrix into a stiffer synthetic framework. This work demonstrates the fabrication of hybrid hydrogel-thermoplastic polymer scaffolds with tunable structural and chemical properties for applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Through an alternating deposition of polycaprolactone and alginate/carboxymethylcellulose gel strands, scaffolds with the desired architecture (e.g., filament thickness, pore size, macro-/microporosity), and rheological characteristics (e.g., swelling capacity, degradation rate, and wettability) were prepared. The hybrid fabrication approach allows the fine-tuning of wettability (approx. 50–75°), swelling (approx. 0–20× increased mass), degradability (approx. 2–30+ days), and mechanical strength (approx. 0.2–11 MPa) in the range between pure hydrogels and pure thermoplastic polymers, while providing a gradient of surface properties and good biocompatibility. The controlled degradability and permeability of the hydrogel component may also enable controlled drug delivery. Our work shows that the novel hybrid hydrogel-thermoplastic scaffolds with adjustable characteristics have immense potential for tissue engineering and can serve as templates for developing novel wound dressings. Full article
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Article
Ensuring Homogeneity in Powder Mixtures for Pharmaceuticals and Dietary Supplements: Evaluation of a 3-Axis Mixing Equipment
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 563; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040563 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 317
Abstract
The mixing process plays a pivotal role in the quality of pharmaceuticals and food/dietary supplements, as it can impact the homogeneity of the substances in their dosage form and affect characteristics such as dissolution and stability. Thus, the choice of the right mixing [...] Read more.
The mixing process plays a pivotal role in the quality of pharmaceuticals and food/dietary supplements, as it can impact the homogeneity of the substances in their dosage form and affect characteristics such as dissolution and stability. Thus, the choice of the right mixing device is paramount for compounding pharmacies. In this paper, we evaluated the mixing efficacy of a new 3-axis mixer device and determined its optimal working conditions. Three different formulations were compounded with the device and a total of 540 individual assays were performed by HPLC or ICP-MS to validate its use, in addition to a direct comparison among it and two alternative mixing methods. The 3-axis mixer device was able to provide homogeneous mixtures and finished capsules with adequate content uniformity with a broad range of conditions of use (mixing times from 2 to 8 min, and speed of rotation from 10 to 100 rpm). In addition, the device was superior to classical mixing methods (such as the use of manually shaken plastic bags) and at least equivalent to well-established ones (Y-shaped mixer). Finally, we proposed a cleaning procedure that was also adequate to prevent cross-contamination among products compounded with the same device. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmaceutical Technology, Manufacturing and Devices)
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Article
A Computational Investigation of In Vivo Cytosolic Protein Delivery for Cancer Therapy
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 562; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040562 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 497
Abstract
The ability to specifically block or degrade cytosolic targets using therapeutic proteins would bring tremendous therapeutic opportunities in cancer therapy. Over the last few years, significant progress has been made with respect to tissue targeting, cytosolic delivery, and catalytic inactivation of targets, placing [...] Read more.
The ability to specifically block or degrade cytosolic targets using therapeutic proteins would bring tremendous therapeutic opportunities in cancer therapy. Over the last few years, significant progress has been made with respect to tissue targeting, cytosolic delivery, and catalytic inactivation of targets, placing this aim within reach. Here, we developed a mathematical model specifically built for the evaluation of approaches towards cytosolic protein delivery, involving all steps from systemic administration to translocation into the cytosol and target engagement. Focusing on solid cancer tissues, we utilized the model to investigate the effects of microvascular permeability, receptor affinity, the cellular density of targeted receptors, as well as the mode of activity (blocking/degradation) on therapeutic potential. Our analyses provide guidance for the rational optimization of protein design for enhanced activity and highlight the importance of tuning the receptor affinity as a function of receptor density as well as the receptor internalization rate. Furthermore, we provide quantitative insights into how enzymatic cargoes can enhance the distribution, extent, and duration of therapeutic activity, already at very low catalytic rates. Our results illustrate that with current protein engineering approaches, the goal of delivery of cytosolic delivery of proteins for therapeutic effects is well within reach. Full article
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Review
Convection Enhanced Delivery in the Setting of High-Grade Gliomas
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 561; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040561 - 15 Apr 2021
Viewed by 451
Abstract
Development of effective treatments for high-grade glioma (HGG) is hampered by (1) the blood–brain barrier (BBB), (2) an infiltrative growth pattern, (3) rapid development of therapeutic resistance, and, in many cases, (4) dose-limiting toxicity due to systemic exposure. Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) has the [...] Read more.
Development of effective treatments for high-grade glioma (HGG) is hampered by (1) the blood–brain barrier (BBB), (2) an infiltrative growth pattern, (3) rapid development of therapeutic resistance, and, in many cases, (4) dose-limiting toxicity due to systemic exposure. Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) has the potential to significantly limit systemic toxicity and increase therapeutic index by directly delivering homogenous drug concentrations to the site of disease. In this review, we present clinical experiences and preclinical developments of CED in the setting of high-grade gliomas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Drug Delivery and Controlled Release)
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Article
A New Bevacizumab Carrier for Intravitreal Administration: Focus on Stability
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(4), 560; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pharmaceutics13040560 - 15 Apr 2021
Viewed by 506
Abstract
Bevacizumab (BVZ) is a monoclonal antibody that binds to human vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) and inhibits the interaction between VEGF-A and VEGF receptors, thus blocking the angiogenesis. Repeated intravitreal injections of BVZ for the treatment of ocular pathologies that present an [...] Read more.
Bevacizumab (BVZ) is a monoclonal antibody that binds to human vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) and inhibits the interaction between VEGF-A and VEGF receptors, thus blocking the angiogenesis. Repeated intravitreal injections of BVZ for the treatment of ocular pathologies that present an excessive proliferation results in a low patience compliance. BVZ is specially indicated for the treatment of diabetic and degenerative retinopathy. In the present study, we designed lipid nanoparticles (NPs) as a BVZ sustained drug delivery system for reducing the frequency of administration. We used a simple and highly efficient procedure, “Cold dilution of microemulsions”, to obtain spherical NPs with mean diameters of 280–430 nm, Zeta potentials between −17 and −31 mV, and drug entrapment efficiencies between 50 to 90%. This study focused on the biochemical and biophysical stabilities of BVZ after entrapment in NPs. SDS-PAGE electrophoretic analysis and circular dichroism, dynamic light scattering, and scanning electron microscopy were used to characterize BVZ-loaded NPs. The biocompatibility was assessed by in vitro cell compatibility studies using the ARPE-19 cell line. Thus, in this work, a stable BVZ-loaded system was obtained. In addition, several studies have shown that BVZ is released slowly from the lipid matrix and that this system is biocompatible. The results are promising and the developed NPs could be exploited to create a new, potentially effective and minimally invasive treatment of intraocular diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Ocular Drug Delivery Systems)
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