• 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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]
    • 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.
    • PLGA nanocapsules improve the delivery of clarithromycin to kill intracellular Staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium abscessus.

      Anversa Dimer, Frantiescoli; de Souza Carvalho-Wodarz, Cristiane; Goes, Adriely; Cirnski, Katarina; Herrmann, Jennifer; Schmitt, Viktoria; Pätzold, Linda; Abed, Nadia; de Rossi, Chiara; Bischoff, Markus; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-11-18)
      Drug delivery systems are promising for targeting antibiotics directly to infected tissues. To reach intracellular Staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium abscessus, we encapsulated clarithromycin in PLGA nanocapsules, suitable for aerosol delivery by nebulization of an aqueous dispersion. Compared to the same dose of free clarithromycin, nanoencapsulation reduced 1000 times the number of intracellular S. aureus in vitro. In RAW cells, while untreated S. aureus was located in acidic compartments, the treated ones were mostly situated in non-acidic compartments. Clarithromycin-nanocapsules were also effective against M. abscessus (70-80% killing efficacy). The activity of clarithromycin-nanocapsules against S. aureus was also confirmed in vivo, using a murine wound model as well as in zebrafish. The permeability of clarithromycin-nanocapsules across Calu-3 monolayers increased in comparison to the free drug, suggesting an improved delivery to sub-epithelial tissues. Thus, clarithromycin-nanocapsules are a promising strategy to target intracellular S. aureus and M. abscessus.
    • The synergistic effect of chlorotoxin-mApoE in boosting drug-loaded liposomes across the BBB.

      Formicola, Beatrice; Dal Magro, Roberta; Montefusco-Pereira, Carlos V; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Koch, Marcus; Russo, Laura; Grasso, Gianvito; Deriu, Marco A; Danani, Andrea; Bourdoulous, Sandrine; et al. (BMC, 2019-11-11)
      We designed liposomes dually functionalized with ApoE-derived peptide (mApoE) and chlorotoxin (ClTx) to improve their blood-brain barrier (BBB) crossing. Our results demonstrated the synergistic activity of ClTx-mApoE in boosting doxorubicin-loaded liposomes across the BBB, keeping the anti-tumour activity of the drug loaded: mApoE acts promoting cellular uptake, while ClTx promotes exocytosis of liposomes.
    • Advanced in vitro lung-on-chip platforms for inhalation assays: From prospect to pipeline.

      Artzy-Schnirman, Arbel; Hobi, Nina; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; Guenat, Olivier T; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Sznitman, Josué; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-09-06)
      With rapid advances in micro-fabrication processes and the availability of biologically-relevant lung cells, the development of lung-on-chip platforms is offering novel avenues for more realistic inhalation assays in pharmaceutical research, and thereby an opportunity to depart from traditional in vitro lung assays. As advanced models capturing the cellular pulmonary make-up at an air-liquid interface (ALI), lung-on-chips emulate both morphological features and biological functionality of the airway barrier with the ability to integrate respiratory breathing motions and ensuing tissue strains. Such in vitro systems allow importantly to mimic more realistic physiological respiratory flow conditions, with the opportunity to integrate physically-relevant transport determinants of aerosol inhalation therapy, i.e. recapitulating the pathway from airborne flight to deposition on the airway lumen. In this short opinion, we discuss such points and describe how these attributes are paving new avenues for exploring improved drug carrier designs (e.g. shape, size, etc.) and targeting strategies (e.g. conductive vs. respiratory regions) amongst other. We argue that while technical challenges still lie along the way in rendering in vitro lung-on-chip platforms more widespread across the general pharmaceutical research community, significant momentum is steadily underway in accelerating the prospect of establishing these as in vitro "gold standards"
    • Challenges and Strategies in Drug Delivery Systems for Treatment of Pulmonary Infections.

      Ho, Duy-Khiet; Nichols, Brittany L B; Edgar, Kevin J; Murgia, Xabier; Loretz, Brigitta; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-09-04)
      Inhalation therapy has been reported as the most effective treatment for respiratory bacterial infections due to the increasing relevance of drug bioavailability. Drug delivery systems (DDS) have the capacity to overcome pulmonary biological barriers limiting the bioavailability of inhaled anti-infectives. This is important to eradicate bacterial infections and to prevent the development of bacterial resistance. Despite substantial efforts in the field, the current state-of-the-art often fails to achieve those goals, and we still observe increasing bacterial resistance. We give a brief insight on benefits and challenges in pulmonary delivery of anti-infectives. In the context of drug delivery development for pulmonary infections, particularly focusing on Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) infections, this mini review will critically discuss the main requirements, as well as the recent strategies of drug delivery system synthesis and preparation. Finally, interaction of DDS with crucial pulmonary biological barriers will be of great importance for the success of future applications of the developed DDS.
    • Capturing the Onset of Bacterial Pulmonary Infection in Acini-On-Chips

      Artzy-Schnirman, Arbel; Zidan, Hikaia; Elias-Kirma, Shani; Ben-Porat, Lee; Tenenbaum-Katan, Janna; Carius, Patrick; Fishler, Ramy; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; Lehr, Claus Michael; Sznitman, Josué (Wiley-VCH, 2019-09-01)
    • OCTN2-mediated acetyl-l-carnitine transport in human pulmonary epithelial cells in vitro

      Salomon, Johanna J.; Gausterer, Julia C.; Selo, Mohammed Ali; Hosoya, Ken Ichi; Huwer, Hanno; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; Lehr, Claus Michael; Ehrhardt, Carsten; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (MPDI, 2019-08-01)
      The carnitine transporter OCTN2 is associated with asthma and other inflammatory diseases. The aims of this work were (i) to determine carnitine uptake into freshly isolated human alveolar type I (ATI)-like epithelial cells in primary culture, (ii) to compare the kinetics of carnitine uptake between respiratory epithelial in vitro cell models, and (iii) to establish whether any cell line was a suitable model for studies of carnitine transport at the air-blood barrier. Levels of time-dependent [3H]-acetyl-l-carnitine uptake were similar in ATI-like, NCl-H441, and Calu-3 epithelial cells, whereas uptake into A549 cells was ~5 times higher. Uptake inhibition was more pronounced by OCTN2 modulators, such as l-Carnitine and verapamil, in ATI-like primary epithelial cells compared to NCl-H441 and Calu-3 epithelial cells. Our findings suggest that OCTN2 is involved in the cellular uptake of acetyl-l-carnitine at the alveolar epithelium and that none of the tested cell lines are optimal surrogates for primary cells.
    • Preferential uptake of chitosan-coated PLGA nanoparticles by primary human antigen presenting cells.

      Durán, Verónica; Yasar, Hanzey; Becker, Jennifer; Thiyagarajan, Durairaj; Loretz, Brigitta; Kalinke, Ulrich; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-07-31)
      Biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles (NP) made from poly (lactid-co-glycolide) acid (PLGA) and chitosan (CS) hold promise as innovative formulations for targeted delivery. Since interactions of such NP with primary human immune cells have not been characterized, yet, here we assessed the effect of PLGA or CS-PLGA NP treatment on human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), as well as on monocyte-derived DC (moDC). Amongst PBMC, antigen presenting cells (APC) showed higher uptake of both NP preparations than lymphocytes. Furthermore, moDC internalized CS-PLGA NP more efficiently than PLGA NP, presumably because of receptor-mediated endocytosis. Consequently, CS-PLGA NP were delivered mostly to endosomal compartments, whereas PLGA NP primarily ended up in lysosomes. Thus, CS-PLGA NP confer enhanced delivery to endosomal compartments of APC, offering new therapeutic options to either induce or modulate APC function and to inhibit pathogens that preferentially infect APC.
    • Bioinspired Liposomes for Oral Delivery of Colistin to Combat Intracellular Infections by Salmonella enterica.

      Menina, Sara; Eisenbeis, Janina; Kamal, Mohamed Ashraf M; Koch, Marcus; Bischoff, Markus; Gordon, Sarah; Loretz, Brigitta; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Wiley-VCH, 2019-07-22)
      Bacterial invasion into eukaryotic cells and the establishment of intracellular infection has proven to be an effective means of resisting antibiotic action, as anti-infective agents commonly exhibit a poor permeability across the host cell membrane. Encapsulation of anti-infectives into nanoscaled delivery systems, such as liposomes, is shown to result in an enhancement of intracellular delivery. The aim of the current work is, therefore, to formulate colistin, a poorly permeable anti-infective, into liposomes suitable for oral delivery, and to functionalize these carriers with a bacteria-derived invasive moiety to enhance their intracellular delivery. Different combinations of phospholipids and cholesterol are explored to optimize liposomal drug encapsulation and stability in biorelevant media. These liposomes are then surface-functionalized with extracellular adherence protein (Eap), derived from Staphylococcus aureus. Treatment of HEp-2 and Caco-2 cells infected with Salmonella enterica using colistin-containing, Eap-functionalized liposomes resulted in a significant reduction of intracellular bacteria, in comparison to treatment with nonfunctionalized liposomes as well as colistin alone. This indicates that such bio-invasive carriers are able to facilitate intracellular delivery of colistin, as necessary for intracellular anti-infective activity. The developed Eap-functionalized liposomes, therefore, present a promising strategy for improving the therapy of intracellular 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)
    • Preparation, characterisation and in vitro antibacterial property of ciprofloxacin-loaded nanostructured lipid carrier for treatment of Bacillus subtilis infection.

      Nnamani, Petra; Ugwu, Agatha; Ibezim, Emmanuel; Onoja, Simon; Odo, Amelia; Windbergs, Maike; Rossi, Chiara; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Attama, Anthony; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Taylor & Francis, 2019-02-13)
      CONTEXT: In this study, controlled ciprofloxacin (CIPRO) nanostrustructured lipid carriers of Precirol® ATO 5/Transcutol® HP (batch A) and tallow fat/Transcutol® HP (batch B) was carreid out. OBJECTIVE: The aim was to improve solubility and bioavailability of CIPRO. OBJECTIVE: Study of controlled ciprofloxacin (CIPRO) nanostructured lipid carriers of Precirol® ATO 5/Transcutol® HP (batch A) and tallow fat/Transcutol® HP (batch B). METHODS: CIPRO concentrations C1-5 (0.0, 0.2, 0.5, 0.8, and 1.0% w/w) as AC1-5 and BC1-5 were prepared by hot homogenisation and characterised by zetasizer, differential scanning calorimetry, Fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy, in vitro drug release and growth inhibitory zone diameter (IZD) on agar-seeded Bacillus subtilis. RESULTS: AC5 achieved polydispersed particles of ∼605 nm, 92% encapsulation efficiency (EE) and -28 mV similar to BC5 (∼789 nm, 91% EE, and -31 mV). Crystallinity indices (AC5 and BC5) were low at 3 and 5%, respectively. CIPRO release in AC5 was ∼98% in SGF (pH 1.2) and BC5 similarly ∼98% in SIF (pH 6.8). CONCLUSIONS: AC5 had superior growth inhibition of B. subtilis at lower concentration (1.2 µg/mL) than BC5 and CIPRO controls; hence could serve as possible sustained delivery system of CIPRO.
    • Aspherical and Spherical InvA497-Functionalized Nanocarriers for Intracellular Delivery of Anti-Infective Agents.

      Castoldi, Arianna; Empting, Martin; De Rossi, Chiara; Mayr, Karsten; Dersch, Petra; Hartmann, Rolf; Müller, Rolf; Gordon, Sarah; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Springer, 2018-12-05)
      The objective of this work was to evaluate the potential of polymeric spherical and aspherical invasive nanocarriers, loaded with antibiotic, to access and treat intracellular bacterial infections. Aspherical nanocarriers were prepared by stretching of spherical precursors, and both aspherical and spherical nanocarriers were surface-functionalized with the invasive protein InvA497. The relative uptake of nanocarriers into HEp-2 epithelial cells was then assessed. Nanocarriers were subsequently loaded with a preparation of the non-permeable antibiotic gentamicin, and tested for their ability to treat HEp-2 cells infected with the enteroinvasive bacterium Shigella flexneri. InvA497-functionalized nanocarriers of both spherical and aspherical shape showed a significantly improved rate and extent of uptake into HEp-2 cells in comparison to non-functionalized nanocarriers. Functionalized and antibiotic-loaded nanocarriers demonstrated a dose dependent killing of intracellular S. flexneri. A slight but significant enhancement of intracellular bacterial killing was also observed with aspherical as compared to spherical functionalized nanocarriers at the highest tested concentration. InvA497-functionalized, polymer-based nanocarriers were able to efficiently deliver a non-permeable antibiotic across host cell membranes to affect killing of intracellular bacteria. Functionalized nanocarriers with an aspherical shape showed an interesting future potential for intracellular infection therapy.
    • Chemically modified hCFTR mRNAs recuperate lung function in a mouse model of cystic fibrosis.

      Haque, A K M Ashiqul; Dewerth, Alexander; Antony, Justin S; Riethmüller, Joachim; Schweizer, Georg R; Weinmann, Petra; Latifi, Ngadhnjim; Yasar, Hanzey; Pedemonte, Nicoletta; Sondo, Elvira; et al. (Nature publishing group, 2018-11-13)
      Gene therapy has always been a promising therapeutic approach for Cystic Fibrosis (CF). However, numerous trials using DNA or viral vectors encoding the correct protein resulted in a general low efficacy. In the last years, chemically modified messenger RNA (cmRNA) has been proven to be a highly potent, pulmonary drug. Consequently, we first explored the expression, function and immunogenicity of human (h)CFTR encoded by cmRNA
    • Medium throughput breathing human primary cell alveolus-on-chip model.

      Stucki, Janick D; Hobi, Nina; Galimov, Artur; Stucki, Andreas O; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Huwer, Hanno; Frick, Manfred; Funke-Chambour, Manuela; Geiser, Thomas; et al. (2018-09-25)
      Organs-on-chips have the potential to improve drug development efficiency and decrease the need for animal testing. For the successful integration of these devices in research and industry, they must reproduce in vivo contexts as closely as possible and be easy to use. Here, we describe a 'breathing' lung-on-chip array equipped with a passive medium exchange mechanism that provide an in vivo-like environment to primary human lung alveolar cells (hAEpCs) and primary lung endothelial cells. This configuration allows the preservation of the phenotype and the function of hAEpCs for several days, the conservation of the epithelial barrier functionality, while enabling simple sampling of the supernatant from the basal chamber. In addition, the chip design increases experimental throughput and enables trans-epithelial electrical resistance measurements using standard equipment. Biological validation revealed that human primary alveolar type I (ATI) and type II-like (ATII) epithelial cells could be successfully cultured on the chip over multiple days. Moreover, the effect of the physiological cyclic strain showed that the epithelial barrier permeability was significantly affected. Long-term co-culture of primary human lung epithelial and endothelial cells demonstrated the potential of the lung-on-chip array for reproducible cell culture under physiological conditions. Thus, this breathing lung-on-chip array, in combination with patients' primary ATI, ATII, and lung endothelial cells, has the potential to become a valuable tool for lung research, drug discovery and precision medicine.
    • Kinetics of mRNA delivery and protein translation in dendritic cells using lipid-coated PLGA nanoparticles.

      Yasar, Hanzey; Biehl, Alexander; De Rossi, Chiara; Koch, Marcus; Murgia, Xabi; Loretz, Brigitta; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-09-19)
      Messenger RNA (mRNA) has gained remarkable attention as an alternative to DNA-based therapies in biomedical research. A variety of biodegradable nanoparticles (NPs) has been developed including lipid-based and polymer-based systems for mRNA delivery. However, both systems still lack in achieving an efficient transfection rate and a detailed understanding of the mRNA transgene expression kinetics. Therefore, quantitative analysis of the time-dependent translation behavior would provide a better understanding of mRNA's transient nature and further aid the enhancement of appropriate carriers with the perspective to generate future precision nanomedicines with quick response to treat various diseases. A lipid-polymer hybrid system complexed with mRNA was evaluated regarding its efficiency to transfect dendritic cells (DCs) by simultaneous live cell video imaging of both particle uptake and reporter gene expression. We prepared and optimized NPs consisting of poly (lactid-co-glycolid) (PLGA) coated with the cationic lipid 1, 2-di-O-octadecenyl-3-trimethylammonium propane abbreviated as LPNs. An earlier developed polymer-based delivery system (chitosan-PLGA NPs) served for comparison. Both NPs types were complexed with mRNA-mCherry at various ratios. While cellular uptake and toxicity of either NPs was comparable, LPNs showed a significantly higher transfection efficiency of ~ 80% while chitosan-PLGA NPs revealed only ~ 5%. Further kinetic analysis elicited a start of protein translation after 1 h, with a maximum after 4 h and drop of transgene expression after 48 h post-transfection, in agreement with the transient nature of mRNA. Charge-mediated complexation of mRNA to NPs enables efficient and fast cellular delivery and subsequent protein translation. While cellular uptake of both NP types was comparable, mRNA transgene expression was superior to polymer-based NPs when delivered by lipid-polymer NPs.