• Calcifediol-loaded liposomes for local treatment of pulmonary bacterial infections.

      Castoldi, Arianna; Herr, Christian; Niederstraßer, Julia; Labouta, Hagar Ibrahim; Melero, Ana; Gordon, Sarah; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; Bals, Robert; Lehr, Claus Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-09)
      The influence of vitamin D3 and its metabolites calcifediol (25(OH)D) and calcitriol on immune regulation and inflammation is well described, and raises the question of potential benefit against bacterial infections. In the current study, 25(OH)D was encapsulated in liposomes to enable aerosolisation, and tested for the ability to prevent pulmonary infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Prepared 25(OH)D-loaded liposomes were nanosized and monodisperse, with a negative surface charge and a 25(OH)D entrapment efficiency of approximately 23%. Jet nebulisation of liposomes was seen to yield an aerosol suitable for tracheo-bronchial deposition. Interestingly, 25(OH)D in either liposomes or ethanolic solution had no effect on the release of the proinflammatory cytokine KC from Pseudomonas-infected murine epithelial cells (LA-4); treatment of infected, human bronchial 16-HBE cells with 25(OH)D liposomes however resulted in a significant reduction in bacterial survival. Together with the importance of selecting an application-appropriate in vitro model, the current study illustrates the feasibility and practicality of employing liposomes as a means to achieve 25(OH)D lung deposition. 25(OH)D-loaded liposomes further demonstrated promising effects regarding prevention of Pseudomonas infection in human bronchial epithelial cells.
    • 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.
    • A New PqsR Inverse Agonist Potentiates Tobramycin Efficacy to Eradicate Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilms

      Schütz, Christian; Ho, Duy‐Khiet; Hamed, Mostafa Mohamed; Abdelsamie, Ahmed Saad; Röhrig, Teresa; Herr, Christian; Kany, Andreas Martin; Rox, Katharina; Schmelz, Stefan; Siebenbürger, Lorenz; et al. (Wiley and Sons Inc., 2021-03-18)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) infections can be notoriously difficult to treat and are often accompanied by the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Quorum sensing inhibitors (QSI) acting on PqsR (MvfR) – a crucial transcriptional regulator serving major functions in PA virulence – can enhance antibiotic efficacy and eventually prevent the AMR. An integrated drug discovery campaign including design, medicinal chemistry‐driven hit‐to‐lead optimization and in‐depth biological profiling of a new QSI generation is reported. The QSI possess excellent activity in inhibiting pyocyanin production and PqsR reporter‐gene with IC50 values as low as 200 and 11 × 10−9 m, respectively. Drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK) as well as safety pharmacology studies especially highlight the promising translational properties of the lead QSI for pulmonary applications. Moreover, target engagement of the lead QSI is shown in a PA mucoid lung infection mouse model. Beyond that, a significant synergistic effect of a QSI‐tobramycin (Tob) combination against PA biofilms using a tailor‐made squalene‐derived nanoparticle (NP) formulation, which enhance the minimum biofilm eradicating concentration (MBEC) of Tob more than 32‐fold is demonstrated. The novel lead QSI and the accompanying NP formulation highlight the potential of adjunctive pathoblocker‐mediated therapy against PA infections opening up avenues for preclinical development.
    • Vitamin D Deficiency Does Not Result in a Breach of Host Defense in Murine Models of Pneumonia.

      Niederstrasser, Julia; Herr, Christian; Wolf, Lisa; Lehr, Claus M; Beisswenger, Christoph; Bals, Robert; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2016-11-01)
      Vitamin D (VitD) has a role in the regulation of calcium and phosphate metabolism and in addition impacts the activity of the immune system. VitD deficiency might be linked to increased susceptibility to respiratory tract infection. The aim of the present study was to characterize the impact of VitD deficiency on the susceptibility to bacterial infection in murine models. C57BL/6N mice were fed a diet with or without VitD for 10 weeks. The VitD-deficient or -sufficient mice were infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Streptococcus pneumoniae The colonization and inflammatory response in the lung were analyzed at defined time points. The serum 25-hydroxy-VitD concentration was significantly lower in mice on the VitD-deficient diet. In infection experiments with Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Streptococcus pneumoniae, no differences could be observed in the numbers of viable bacteria or in differential cell counts in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluids. Measurements of inflammatory cytokines (KC and interleukin-1β [IL-1β]) did not show significant differences between the groups. In conclusion, VitD-deficient animals did not show significantly increased susceptibility to infection or an altered course of infection. The immune systems of humans and mice likely respond differently to VitD. Murine models are likely not appropriate for drawing conclusions on the role of VitD in human pulmonary host defense.