Recent Submissions

  • Controlling Supramolecular Structures of Drugs by Light.

    Wiest, Johannes; Kehrein, Josef; Saedtler, Marco; Schilling, Klaus; Cataldi, Eleonora; Sotriffer, Christoph A; Holzgrabe, Ulrike; Rasmussen, Tim; Böttcher, Bettina; Cronin-Golomb, Mark; et al. (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2020-10-29)
    Controlling physicochemical properties of light-unresponsive drugs, by light, prima facie, a paradox approach. We expanded light control by ion pairing light-unresponsive salicylate or ibuprofen to photoswitchable azobenzene counterions, thereby reversibly controlling supramolecular structures, hence the drugs' physicochemical and kinetic properties. The resulting ion pairs photoliquefied into room-temperature ionic liquids under ultraviolet light. Aqueous solutions showed trans-cis-dependent supramolecular structures under a light with wormlike aggregates decomposing into small micelles and vice versa. Light control allowed for permeation through membranes of cis-ibuprofen ion pairs within 12 h in contrast to the trans ion pairs requiring 72 h. In conclusion, azobenzene ion-pairing expands light control of physicochemical and kinetic properties to otherwise light-unresponsive drugs.
  • Micro-rheological properties of lung homogenates correlate with infection severity in a mouse model of Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection.

    Murgia, Xabier; Kany, Andreas M; Herr, Christian; Ho, Duy-Khiet; de Rossi, Chiara; Bals, Robert; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Hirsch, Anna K H; Hartmann, Rolf W; Empting, Martin; et al. (Nature publishing group (NPG), 2020-10-05)
    Lung infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa pose a serious threat to patients suffering from, among others, cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or bronchiectasis, often leading to life-threatening complications. The establishment of a chronic infection is substantially related to communication between bacteria via quorum-sensing networks. In this study, we aimed to assess the role of quorum-sensing signaling molecules of the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) and to investigate the viscoelastic properties of lung tissue homogenates of PA-infected mice in a prolonged acute murine infection model. Therefore, a murine infection model was successfully established via intra-tracheal infection with alginate-supplemented Pseudomonas aeruginosa NH57388A. Rheological properties of lung homogenates were analyzed with multiple particle tracking (MPT) and quorum-sensing molecules were quantified with LC-MS/MS. Statistical analysis of bacterial load and quorum-sensing molecules showed a strong correlation between these biomarkers in infected lungs. This was accompanied by noticeable changes in the consistency of lung homogenates with increasing infection severity. Furthermore, viscoelastic properties of the lung homogenates strongly correlated with bacterial load and quorum sensing molecules. Considering the strong correlation between the viscoelasticity of lung homogenates and the aforementioned biomarkers, the viscoelastic properties of infected lungs might serve as reliable new biomarker for the evaluation of the severity of P. aeruginosa infections in murine models.
  • Towards a Continuous Manufacturing Process of Protein-Loaded Polymeric Nanoparticle Powders.

    Schiller, Stefan; Hanefeld, Andrea; Schneider, Marc; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Springer, 2020-10-06)
    To develop a scalable and efficient process suitable for the continuous manufacturing of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles containing ovalbumin as the model protein. PLGA nanoparticles were prepared using a double emulsification spray-drying method. Emulsions were prepared using a focused ultrasound transducer equipped with a flow cell. Either poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) or poloxamer 407 (P-407) was used as a stabilizer. Aliquots of the emulsions were blended with different matrix excipients and spray dried, and the yield and size of the resuspended nanoparticles was determined and compared against solvent displacement. Nanoparticle sizes of spray-dried PLGA/PVA emulsions were independent of the matrix excipient and comparable with sizes from the solvent displacement method. The yield of the resuspended nanoparticles was highest for emulsions containing trehalose and leucine (79%). Spray drying of PLGA/P-407 emulsions led to agglomerated nanoparticles independent of the matrix excipient. PLGA/P-407 nanoparticles pre-formed by solvent displacement could be spray dried with limited agglomeration when PVA was added as an additional stabilizer. A comparably high and economically interesting nanoparticle yield could be achieved with a process suitable for continuous manufacturing. Further studies are needed to understand the robustness of a continuous process at commercial scale.
  • Editorial: Mechanisms of Prokaryotic Predation.

    Whitworth, David E; Jurkevitch, Edouard; Pérez, Juana; Fuhrmann, Gregor; Koval, Susan F; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Frontiers, 2020-09-08)
    No abstract available]
  • Probiomimetics-Novel Lactobacillus-Mimicking Microparticles Show Anti-Inflammatory and Barrier-Protecting Effects in Gastrointestinal Models.

    Kuhn, Thomas; Koch, Marcus; Fuhrmann, Gregor; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Wiley, 2020-09-03)
    There is a lack of efficient therapies to treat increasingly prevalent autoimmune diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease. Membrane vesicles (MVs) isolated from probiotic bacteria have shown tremendous potential for treating intestinal inflammatory diseases. However, possible dilution effects and rapid elimination in the gastrointestinal tract may impair their application. A cell‐free and anti‐inflammatory therapeutic system—probiomimetics—based on MVs of probiotic bacteria (Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus plantarum) coupled to the surface of microparticles is developed. The MVs are isolated and characterized for size and protein content. MV morphology is determined using cryoelectron microscopy and is reported for the first time in this study. MVs are nontoxic against macrophage‐like dTHP‐1 and enterocyte‐like Caco‐2 cell lines. Subsequently, the MVs are coupled onto the surface of microparticles according to facile aldehyde‐group functionalization to obtain probiomimetics. A significant reduction in proinflammatory TNF‐α level (by 86%) is observed with probiomimetics but not with native MVs. Moreover, it is demonstrated that probiomimetics have the ability to ameliorate inflammation‐induced loss of intestinal barrier function, indicating their potential for further development into an anti‐inflammatory formulation. These engineered simple probiomimetics that elicit striking anti‐inflammatory effects are a key step toward therapeutic MV translation.
  • Human airway mucus alters susceptibility of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms to tobramycin, but not colistin.

    Müller, Laura; Murgia, Xabier; Siebenbürger, Lorenz; Börger, Carsten; Schwarzkopf, Konrad; Sewald, Katherina; Häussler, Susanne; Braun, Armin; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Hittinger, Marius; et al.
    Objectives: In the context of cystic fibrosis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms often develop in the vicinity of airway mucus, which acts as a protective physical barrier to inhaled matter. However, mucus can also adsorb small drug molecules administered as aerosols, including antibiotics, thereby reducing their bioavailability. The efficacy of antibiotics is typically assessed by determining the MIC using in vitro assays. This widespread technique, however, does not consider either bacterial biofilm formation or the influence of mucus, both of which may act as diffusion barriers, potentially limiting antibiotic efficacy. Methods: We grew P. aeruginosa biofilms in the presence or absence of human tracheal mucus and tested their susceptibility to tobramycin and colistin. Results: A significant reduction of tobramycin efficacy was observed when P. aeruginosa biofilms were grown in the presence of mucus compared with those grown in the absence of mucus. Diffusion of tobramycin through mucus was reduced; however, this reduction was more pronounced in biofilm/mucus mixtures, suggesting that biofilms in the presence of mucus respond differently to antibiotic treatment. In contrast, the influence of mucus on colistin efficacy was almost negligible and no differences in mucus permeability were observed. Conclusions: These findings underline the important role of mucus in the efficacy of anti-infective drugs.
  • Itaconic Acid Increases the Efficacy of Tobramycin against Biofilms.

    Ho, Duy-Khiet; de Rossi, Chiara; Loretz, Brigitta; Murgia, Xabier; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-07-22)
    The search for novel therapeutics against pulmonary infections, in particular Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) biofilm infections, has been intense to deal with the emergent rise of antimicrobial resistance. Despite the numerous achievements in drug discovery and delivery strategies, only a limited number of therapeutics reach the clinic. To allow a timely preclinical development, a formulation should be highly effective, safe, and most importantly facile to produce. Thus, a simple combination of known actives that enhances the therapeutic efficacy would be a preferential choice compared to advanced drug delivery systems. In this study, we propose a novel combination of an anti-inflammatory agent-itaconic acid (itaconate, IA)-and an approved antibiotic-tobramycin (Tob) or ciprofloxacin (Cipro). The combination of Tob and IA at a molar ratio of 1:5 increased the biofilm eradicating efficacy in the strain PA14 wild type (wt) by ~4-fold compared to Tob alone. In contrast, such effect was not observed for the combination of IA with Cipro. Subsequent studies on the influence of IA on bacterial growth, pyocyanin production, and Tob biofilm penetration indicated that complexation with IA enhanced the transport of Tob through the biofilm. We recommend the simple and effective combination of Tob:IA for further testing in advanced preclinical models of PA biofilm infections.
  • Vibrational spectroscopic imaging and live cell video microscopy for studying differentiation of primary human alveolar epithelial cells.

    Vukosavljevic, Branko; Hittinger, Marius; Hachmeister, Henning; Pilger, Christian; Murgia, Xabier; Gepp, Michael M; Gentile, Luca; Huwer, Hanno; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; Huser, Thomas; et al. (Wiley-VCH, 2019-02-20)
  • Polysaccharide Submicrocarrier for Improved Pulmonary Delivery of Poorly Soluble Anti-infective Ciprofloxacin: Preparation, Characterization, and Influence of Size on Cellular Uptake.

    Ho, Duy-Khiet; Costa, Ana; de Rossi, Chiara; de Souza Carvalho-Wodarz, Cristiane; Loretz, Brigitta; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (American Chemical Society, 2018-02-21)
    The majority of the currently used and developed anti-infectives are poorly water-soluble molecules. The poor solubility might lead to limited bioavailability and pharmacological action of the drug. Novel pharmaceutical materials have thus been designed to solve those problems and improve drug delivery. In this study, we propose a facile method to produce submicrocarriers (sMCs) by electrostatic gelation of anionic ß-cyclodextrin (aß-CD) and chitosan. The average hydrodynamic size ranged from 400 to 900 nm by carefully adjusting polymer concentrations and N/C ratio. The distinct host-guest reaction of cyclodextrin derivative is considered as a good approach to enhance solubility, and prevent drug recrystallization, and thus was used to develop sMC to improve the controlled release profile of a poorly soluble and clinically relevant anti-infective ciprofloxacin. The optimal molar ratio of ciprofloxacin to aß-CD was found to be 1:1, which helped maximize encapsulation efficiency (∼90%) and loading capacity (∼9%) of ciprofloxacin loaded sMCs. Furthermore, to recommend the future application of the developed sMCs, the dependence of cell uptake on sMCs size (500, 700, and 900 nm) was investigated in vitro on dTHP-1 by both flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. The results demonstrate that, regardless of their size, an only comparatively small fraction of the sMCs were taken up by the macrophage-like cells, while most of the carriers were merely adsorbed to the cell surface after 2 h incubation. After continuing the incubation to reach 24 h, the majority of the sMCs were found intracellularly. However, the sMCs had been designed to release sufficient amount of drug within 24 h, and the subsequent phagocytosis of the carrier may be considered as an efficient pathway for its safe degradation and elimination. In summary, the developed sMC is a suitable system with promising perspectives recommended for pulmonary extracellular infection therapeutics.
  • Biogenic and Biomimetic Carriers as Versatile Transporters To Treat Infections.

    Goes, Adriely; Fuhrmann, Gregor; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (American Chemical Society, 2018-03-29)
    Biogenic and biomimetic therapeutics are a relatively new class of systems that are of physiological origin and/or take advantage of natural pathways or aim at mimicking these to improve selective interaction with target tissue. The number of biogenic and bioengineered avenues for drug therapy and diagnostics has multiplied over the past years for many applications, indicating the high expectations associated with this biological route. Nevertheless, the use of "bio"-related approaches for treating or diagnosing infectious diseases is still rare. Given that infectious diseases, in particular bacterial resistances, are seriously on the rise, there is an urgent need to take advantage of biogenic and bioengineered systems to target these challenges. In this manuscript, we first give a definition of the various "bio" terms, including biogenic, biomimetic, bioinspired, and bioengineered and we highlight them using tangible applications in the field of infectious diseases. Our examples cover cell-derived systems, including bioengineered bacteria, virus-like particles, and different cell-mimetics. Moreover, we discuss natural and bioengineered particles such as extracellular vesicles from mammalian and bacterial sources and liposomes. A concluding section outlines the potential for biomaterial-related avenues to overcome challenges associated with difficult-to-treat infections. We critically discuss benefits and risks for these applications and give an outlook on the future of biogenic engineering.
  • Squalenyl Hydrogen Sulfate Nanoparticles for Simultaneous Delivery of Tobramycin and an Alkylquinolone Quorum Sensing Inhibitor Enable the Eradication of P. aeruginosa Biofilm Infections.

    Ho, Duy-Khiet; Murgia, Xabier; de Rossi, Chiara; Christmann, Rebekka; Hüfner de Mello Martins, Antonio G; Koch, Marcus; Andreas, Anastasia; Herrmann, Jennifer; Müller, Rolf; Empting, Martin; et al. (Wiley, 2020-04-03)
    Elimination of pulmonary Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) infections is challenging to accomplish with antibiotic therapies, mainly due to resistance mechanisms. Quorum sensing inhibitors (QSIs) interfering with biofilm formation can thus complement antibiotics. For simultaneous and improved delivery of both active agents to the infection sites, self-assembling nanoparticles of a newly synthesized squalenyl hydrogen sulfate (SqNPs) were prepared. These nanocarriers allowed for remarkably high loading capacities of hydrophilic antibiotic tobramycin (Tob) and a novel lipophilic QSI at 30 % and circa 10 %, respectively. The drug-loaded SqNPs showed improved biofilm penetration and enhanced efficacy in relevant biological barriers (mucin/human tracheal mucus, biofilm), leading to complete eradication of PA biofilms at circa 16-fold lower Tob concentration than Tob alone. This study offers a viable therapy optimization and invigorates the research and development of QSIs for clinical use.
  • Liver-derived extracellular vesicles: A cell by cell overview to isolation and characterization practices.

    Zivko, Cristina; Fuhrmann, Gregor; Luciani, Paola; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2020-02-19)
    BACKGROUND: Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are a diverse group of membrane-bound nanovesicles potentially released by every cell. With the liver's unique ensemble of cells and its fundamental physiological tasks, elucidating the role of EV-mediated hepatic cellular crosstalk and their role in different pathologies has been gaining the attention of many scientists. SCOPE OF REVIEW: The present review shifts the perspective into practice: we aim to critically discuss the methods used to purify and to biochemically analyse EVs from specific liver resident cells, including hepatocytes, hepatic stellate cells, cholangiocytes, liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, Kupffer cells, liver stem cells. The review offers a reference guide to current approaches. MAJOR CONCLUSIONS: Strategies for EV isolation and characterization are as varied as the research groups performing them. We present main advantages and disadvantages for the methods, highlighting common causes for concern, such as FBS handling, reporting of cell viability, EV yield and storage, differences in differential centrifugations, suboptimal method descriptions, and method transferability. We both looked at how adaptable the research between human and rodent cells in vitro is, and also assessed how well either of them translates to ex vivo settings. GENERAL SIGNIFICANCE: We reviewed methodological practices for the isolation and analysis of liver-derived EVs, making a cell type specific user guide that shows where to start, what has worked so far and to what extent. We critically discussed room for improvement, placing a particular focus on working towards a potential standardization of methods.
  • Advancing human pulmonary disease models in preclinical research: opportunities for lung-on-chips..

    Artzy-Schnirman, Arbel; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Sznitman, Josué; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Taylor&Francis, 2020-03-11)
    [No abstracr available]
  • In vitro characterization and in vivo comparison of the pulmonary outcomes of Poractant alfa and Calsurf in ventilated preterm rabbits.

    Guo, Xiaojing; Luo, Siwei; Amidani, Davide; Rivetti, Claudio; Pieraccini, Giuseppe; Pioselli, Barbara; Catinella, Silvia; Murgia, Xabi; Salomone, Fabrizio; Xu, Yaling; et al. (PLOS, 2020-03-13)
    Poractant alfa and Calsurf are two natural surfactants widely used in China for the treatment of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, which are extracted from porcine and calf lungs, respectively. The purpose of this experimental study was to compare their in vitro characteristics and in vivo effects in the improvement of pulmonary function and protection of lung injury. The biophysical properties, ultrastructure, and lipid composition of both surfactant preparations were respectively analysed in vitro by means of Langmuir-Blodgett trough (LBT), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and liquid-chromatography mass-spectrometry (LC-MS). Then, as core pharmacological activity, both head-to-head (100 and 200 mg/kg for both surfactants) and licensed dose comparisons (70 mg/kg Calsurf vs. 200 mg/kg Poractant alfa) between the two surfactants were conducted as prophylaxis in preterm rabbits with primary surfactant deficiency, assessing survival time and rate and dynamic compliance of the respiratory system (Cdyn). Intrapulmonary surfactant pools, morphometric volume density as alveolar expansion (Vv), and lung injury scores were determined post mortem. AFM and LC-MS analysis revealed qualitative differences in the ultrastructure as well as in the lipid composition of both preparations. Calsurf showed a longer plateau region of the LBT isotherm and lower film compressibility. In vivo, both surfactant preparations improved Cdyn at any dose, although maximum benefits in terms of Vv and intrapulmonary surfactant pools were seen with the 200 mg/kg dose in both surfactants. The group of animals treated with 200 mg/kg of Poractant alfa showed a prolonged survival time and rate compared to untreated but ventilated controls, and significantly ameliorated lung injury compared to Calsurf at any dose, including 200 mg/kg. The overall outcomes suggest the pulmonary effects to be dose dependent for both preparations. The group of animals treated with 200 mg/kg of Poractant alfa showed a significant reduction of mortality. Compared to Calsurf, Poractant alfa exerted better effects if licensed doses were compared, which requires further investigation.
  • Streptococcal Extracellular Membrane Vesicles Are Rapidly Internalized by Immune Cells and Alter Their Cytokine Release.

    Mehanny, Mina; Koch, Marcus; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Fuhrmann, Gregor; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Frontiers, 2020-02-14)
    Extracellular vesicles are membranous structures shed by almost every living cell. Bacterial gram-negative outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) and gram-positive membrane vesicles (MVs) play important roles in adaptation to the surrounding environment, cellular components' exchange, transfer of antigens and virulence factors, and infection propagation. Streptococcus pneumoniae is considered one of the priority pathogens, with a global health impact due to the increase in infection burden and growing antibiotic resistance. We isolated MVs produced from the S. pneumoniae reference strain (R6) and purified them via size exclusion chromatography (SEC) to remove soluble protein impurities. We characterized the isolated MVs by nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) and measured their particle size distribution and concentration. Isolated MVs showed a mean particle size range of 130-160 nm and a particle yield of around 1012 particles per milliliter. Cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM) images revealed a very heterogeneous nature of isolated MVs with a broad size range and various morphologies, arrangements, and contents. We incubated streptococcal MVs with several mammalian somatic cells, namely, human lung epithelial A549 and human keratinocytes HaCaT cell lines, and immune cells including differentiated macrophage-like dTHP-1 and murine dendritic DC2.4 cell lines. All cell lines displayed excellent viability profile and negligible cytotoxicity after 24-h incubation with MVs at concentrations reaching 106 MVs per cell (somatic cells) and 105 MVs per cell (immune cells). We evaluated the uptake of fluorescently labeled MVs into these four cell lines, using flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. Dendritic cells demonstrated prompt uptake after 30-min incubation, whereas other cell lines showed increasing uptake after 2-h incubation and almost complete colocalization/internalization of MVs after only 4-h incubation. We assessed the influence of streptococcal MVs on antigen-presenting cells, e.g., dendritic cells, using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and observed enhanced release of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, a slight increase of interleukin (IL)-10 secretion, and no detectable effect on IL-12. Our study provides a better understanding of gram-positive streptococcal MVs and shows their potential to elicit a protective immune response. Therefore, they could offer an innovative avenue for safe and effective cell-free vaccination against pneumococcal infections.
  • Diffusion and transport of extracellular vesicles.

    Fuhrmann, Gregor; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Springer Nature, 2020-02-17)
    Cell-derived extracellular vesicles are important intercellular communicators involved in many biological processes and diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular diseases, but, thus far, how they navigate within complex extracellular matrices has been poorly understood.
  • Safety assessment of excipients (SAFE) for orally inhaled drug products.

    Metz, Julia K; Scharnowske, Lara; Hans, Fabian; Schnur, Sabrina; Knoth, Katharina; Zimmer, Horst; Limberger, Markus; Groß, Henrik; Lehr, Claus Michael; Hittinger, Marius; et al. (Springer, 2020-01-29)
    The development of new orally inhaled drug products requires the demonstration of safety which must be proven in animal experiments. New in vitro methods may replace, or at least reduce, these animal experiments provided they are able to correctly predict the safety or eventual toxicity in humans. However, the challenge is to link human in vitro data to human in vivo data. We here present a new approach to the safety assessment of excipients (SAFE) for pulmonary drug delivery. The SAFE model is based on a dose response curve of 23 excipients tested on the human pulmonary epithelial cell lines A549 and Calu-3. The resulting in vitro IC50 values were correlated with the FDA-approved concentration in pharmaceutical products for either pulmonary (if available) or parenteral administration. Setting a threshold of 0.1% (1 mg/mL) for either value yielded four safety classes, allowed to link IC50 data as measured on human cell cultures in vitro with the concentrations of the same compounds in FDA-approved drug products. The necessary in vitro data for novel excipients can be easily generated while the SAFE approach allows putting them in the context for eventual use in human pulmonary drug products. Excipients, that are most likely not safe for use in humans, can be early excluded from further pharmaceutical development. The SAFE approach helps thus to avoid unnecessary animal experiments.
  • Coupling quaternary ammonium surfactants to the surface of liposomes improves both antibacterial efficacy and host cell biocompatibility

    Montefusco-Pereira, Carlos V.; Formicola, Beatrice; Goes, Adriely; Re, Francesca; Marrano, Claudia A.; Mantegazza, Francesco; Carvalho-Wodarz, Cristiane; Fuhrmann, Gregor; Caneva, Enrico; Nicotra, Francesco; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2020-04)
    By functionalizing the surface of PEG-liposomes with linkers bearing quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs), we generated novel bacteria disruptors with anti-adhesive properties and reduced cytotoxicity compared to free QACs. Furthermore, QAC-functionalized liposomes are a promising platform for future drug encapsulation. The QAC (11-mercaptoundecyl)-N,N,N-trimethylammonium bromide (MTAB) was attached to maleimide-functionalized liposomes (DSPE-PEG) via thiol linker. The MTAB-functionalized liposomes were physicochemically characterized and their biological activity, in terms of anti-adherence activity and biofilm prevention in Escherichia coli were assessed. The results showed that MTAB-functionalized liposomes inhibit bacterial adherence and biofilm formation while reducing MTAB toxicity.
  • Myxobacteria-Derived Outer Membrane Vesicles: Potential Applicability Against Intracellular Infections.

    Goes, Adriely; Lapuhs, Philipp; Kuhn, Thomas; Schulz, Eilien; Richter, Robert; Panter, Fabian; Dahlem, Charlotte; Koch, Marcus; Garcia, Ronald; Kiemer, Alexandra K; et al. (MDPI, 2020-01-12)
    In 2019, it was estimated that 2.5 million people die from lower tract respiratory infections annually. One of the main causes of these infections is Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that can invade and survive within mammalian cells. S. aureus intracellular infections are difficult to treat because several classes of antibiotics are unable to permeate through the cell wall and reach the pathogen. This condition increases the need for new therapeutic avenues, able to deliver antibiotics efficiently. In this work, we obtained outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) derived from the myxobacteria Cystobacter velatus strain Cbv34 and Cystobacter ferrugineus strain Cbfe23, that are naturally antimicrobial, to target intracellular infections, and investigated how they can affect the viability of epithelial and macrophage cell lines. We evaluated by cytometric bead array whether they induce the expression of proinflammatory cytokines in blood immune cells. Using confocal laser scanning microscopy and flow cytometry, we also investigated their interaction and uptake into mammalian cells. Finally, we studied the effect of OMVs on planktonic and intracellular S. aureus. We found that while Cbv34 OMVs were not cytotoxic to cells at any concentration tested, Cbfe23 OMVs affected the viability of macrophages, leading to a 50% decrease at a concentration of 125,000 OMVs/cell. We observed only little to moderate stimulation of release of TNF-alpha, IL-8, IL-6 and IL-1beta by both OMVs. Cbfe23 OMVs have better interaction with the cells than Cbv34 OMVs, being taken up faster by them, but both seem to remain mostly on the cell surface after 24 h of incubation. This, however, did not impair their bacteriostatic activity against intracellular S. aureus. In this study, we provide an important basis for implementing OMVs in the treatment of intracellular infections.
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2 Release by Macrophages: An Anti-inflammatory Program Induced by Glucocorticoids and Lipopolysaccharide.

    Hoppstädter, Jessica; Dembek, Anna; Linnenberger, Rebecca; Dahlem, Charlotte; Barghash, Ahmad; Fecher-Trost, Claudia; Fuhrmann, Gregor; Koch, Marcus; Kraegeloh, Annette; Huwer, Hanno; et al. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
    Glucocorticoids (GCs) are widely prescribed therapeutics for the treatment of inflammatory diseases, and endogenous GCs play a key role in immune regulation. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) enable innate immune cells, such as macrophages, to recognize a wide variety of microbial ligands, thereby promoting inflammation. The interaction of GCs with macrophages in the immunosuppressive resolution phase upon prolonged TLR activation is widely unknown. Treatment of human alveolar macrophages (AMs) with the synthetic GC dexamethasone (Dex) did not alter the expression of TLRs -1, -4, and -6. In contrast, TLR2 was upregulated in a GC receptor-dependent manner, as shown by Western blot and qPCR. Furthermore, long-term lipopolysaccharide (LPS) exposure mimicking immunosuppression in the resolution phase of inflammation synergistically increased Dex-mediated TLR2 upregulation. Analyses of publicly available datasets suggested that TLR2 is induced during the resolution phase of inflammatory diseases, i.e., under conditions associated with high endogenous GC production. TLR2 induction did not enhance TLR2 signaling, as indicated by reduced cytokine production after treatment with TLR2 ligands in Dex- and/or LPS-primed AMs. Thus, we hypothesized that the upregulated membrane-bound TLR2 might serve as a precursor for soluble TLR2 (sTLR2), known to antagonize TLR2-dependent cell actions. Supernatants of LPS/Dex-primed macrophages contained sTLR2, as demonstrated by Western blot analysis. Activation of metalloproteinases resulted in enhanced sTLR2 shedding. Additionally, we detected full-length TLR2 and assumed that this might be due to the production of TLR2-containing extracellular vesicles (EVs). EVs from macrophage supernatants were isolated by sequential centrifugation. Both untreated and LPS/Dex-treated cells produced vesicles of various sizes and shapes, as shown by cryo-transmission electron microscopy. These vesicles were identified as the source of full-length TLR2 in macrophage supernatants by Western blot and mass spectrometry. Flow cytometric analysis indicated that TLR2-containing EVs were able to bind the TLR2 ligand Pam3CSK4. In addition, the presence of EVs reduced inflammatory responses in Pam3CSK4-treated endothelial cells and HEK Dual reporter cells, demonstrating that TLR2-EVs can act as decoy receptors. In summary, our data show that sTLR2 and full-length TLR2 are released by macrophages under anti-inflammatory conditions, which may contribute to GC-induced immunosuppression.

View more