• Development of artemether-loaded nanostructured lipid carrier (NLC) formulation for topical application.

      Nnamani, Petra O; Hansen, Steffi; Windbergs, Maike; Lehr, Claus-Michael (2014-12-30)
      NLC topical formulation as an alternative to oral and parenteral (IM) delivery of artemether (ART), a poorly water-soluble drug was designed. A Phospholipon 85G-modified Gelucire 43/01 based NLC formulation containing 75% Transcutol was chosen from DSC studies and loaded with gradient concentration of ART (100-750mg). ART-loaded NLCs were stable (-22 to -40mV), polydispersed (0.4-0.7) with d90 size distribution range of 247-530nm without microparticles up to one month of storage. The encapsulation efficiency (EE%) for ART in the NLC was concentration independent as 250mg of ART loading achieved ∼61%. DSC confirmed molecular dispersion of ART due to low matrix crystallinity (0.028J/g). Ex vivo study showed detectable ART amounts after 20h which gradually increased over 48h achieving ∼26% cumulative amount permeated irrespective of the applied dose. This proves that ART permeates excised human epidermis, where the current formulation served as a reservoir to gradually control drug release over an extended period of time. Full thickness skin study therefore may confirm if this is a positive signal to hope for a topical delivery system of ART.
    • Different macro- and micro-rheological properties of native porcine respiratory and intestinal mucus.

      Bokkasam, Harish; Ernst, Matthias; Guenther, Marco; Wagner, Christian; Schaefer, Ulrich F; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken. (2016-06-13)
      Aim of this study was to investigate the similarities and differences at macro- and microscale in the viscoelastic properties of mucus that covers the epithelia of the intestinal and respiratory tract. Natural mucus was collected from pulmonary and intestinal regions of healthy pigs. Macro-rheological investigations were carried out through conventional plate-plate rheometry. Microrheology was investigated using optical tweezers. Our data revealed significant differences both in macro- and micro-rheological properties between respiratory and intestinal mucus.
    • Dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate copolymer-siRNA nanoparticles for silencing a therapeutically relevant gene in macrophages

      Jain, Ratnesh; Dandekar, Prajakta; Loretz, Brigitta; Koch, Marcus; Lehr, Claus-Michael; elmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Campus A4 1, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, 66123 Germany. (2015)
    • Dissolution techniques for in vitro testing of dry powders for inhalation.

      May, Sabine; Jensen, Birte; Wolkenhauer, Markus; Schneider, Marc; Lehr, Claus Michael; PharmBioTec GmbH, Saarbrücken, Germany. (2012-08)
      To evaluate different dissolution testing methods and subsequently develop a simple to perform but reproducible and discriminating dissolution technique for inhalative powders.
    • Diverse Applications of Nanomedicine.

      Pelaz, Beatriz; Alexiou, Christoph; Alvarez-Puebla, Ramon A; Alves, Frauke; Andrews, Anne M; Ashraf, Sumaira; Balogh, Lajos P; Ballerini, Laura; Bestetti, Alessandra; Brendel, Cornelia; et al. (2017-03-28)
      The design and use of materials in the nanoscale size range for addressing medical and health-related issues continues to receive increasing interest. Research in nanomedicine spans a multitude of areas, including drug delivery, vaccine development, antibacterial, diagnosis and imaging tools, wearable devices, implants, high-throughput screening platforms, etc. using biological, nonbiological, biomimetic, or hybrid materials. Many of these developments are starting to be translated into viable clinical products. Here, we provide an overview of recent developments in nanomedicine and highlight the current challenges and upcoming opportunities for the field and translation to the clinic.
    • Dual flow bioreactor with ultrathin microporous TEER sensing membrane for evaluation of nanoparticle toxicity

      Sbrana, Tommaso; Ucciferri, Nadia; Favrè, Mèlanie; Ahmed, Sher; Collnot, Eva-Maria; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Ahluwalia, Arti; Liley, Martha; Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS);Saarland University, Building A4.1, 66123 Saarbruecken, Germany. (2016-02)
    • Enhanced uptake and siRNA-mediated knockdown of a biologically relevant gene using cyclodextrin polyrotaxane

      Dandekar, P.; Jain, R.; Keil, M.; Loretz, B.; Koch, M.; Wenz, G.; Lehr, C.-M.; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS),Saarland 9 University, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2015)
    • Expression and Activity of Breast Cancer Resistance Protein (BCRP/ABCG2) in Human Distal Lung Epithelial Cells In Vitro.

      Nickel, Sabrina; Selo, Mohammed Ali; Fallack, Juliane; Clerkin, Caoimhe G; Huwer, Hanno; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; Lehr, Claus Michael; Ehrhardt, Carsten; Helmholtz Institut für Pharmaceutischr Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-05-03)
      Breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP/ABCG2) has previously been identified with high expression levels in human lung. The subcellular localisation and functional activity of the transporter in lung epithelia, however, remains poorly investigated. The aim of this project was to study BCRP expression and activity in freshly isolated human alveolar epithelial type 2 (AT2) and type 1-like (AT1-like) cells in primary culture, and to compare these findings with data obtained from the NCI-H441 cell line.
    • Expression and function of the epithelial sodium channel δ-subunit in human respiratory epithelial cells in vitro.

      Schwagerus, Elena; Sladek, Svenja; Buckley, Stephen T; Armas-Capote, Natalia; Alvarez de la Rosa, Diego; Harvey, Brian J; Fischer, Horst; Illek, Beate; Huwer, Hanno; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; et al. (2015-11)
      Using human airway epithelial cell lines (i.e. NCI-H441 and Calu-3) as well as human alveolar epithelial type I-like (ATI) cells in primary culture, we studied the contribution of the epithelial sodium channel δ-subunit (δ-ENaC) to transepithelial sodium transport in human lung in vitro. Endogenous δ-ENaC protein was present in all three cell types tested; however, protein abundance was low, and no expression was detected in the apical cell membrane of these cells. Similarly, known modulators of δ-ENaC activity, such as capsazepine and icilin (activators) and Evans blue (inhibitor), did not show effects on short-circuit current (I SC), suggesting that δ-ENaC is not involved in the modulation of transcellular sodium absorption in NCI-H441 cell monolayers. Over-expression of δ-ENaC in NCI-H441 cells resulted in detectable protein expression in the apical cell membrane, as well as capsazepine and icilin-stimulated increases in I SC that were effectively blocked by Evans blue and that were consistent with δ-ENaC activation and inhibition, respectively. Consequently, these observations suggest that δ-ENaC expression is low in NCI-H441, Calu-3, and ATI cells and does not contribute to transepithelial sodium absorption.
    • Extracellular vesicles protect glucuronidase model enzymes during freeze-drying.

      Frank, Julia; Richter, Maximilian; de Rossi, Chiara; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Fuhrmann, Kathrin; Fuhrmann, Gregor; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-08-17)
      Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are natural nanoparticles that play important roles in intercellular communication and are increasingly studied for biosignalling, pathogenesis and therapy. Nevertheless, little is known about optimal conditions for their transfer and storage, and the potential impact on preserving EV-loaded cargoes. We present the first comprehensive stability assessment of different widely available types of EVs during various storage conditions including -80 °C, 4 °C, room temperature, and freeze-drying (lyophilisation). Lyophilisation of EVs would allow easy handling at room temperature and thus significantly enhance their expanded investigation. A model enzyme, β-glucuronidase, was loaded into different types of EVs derived from mesenchymal stem cells, endothelial cells and cancer cells. Using asymmetric flow field-flow fractionation we proved that the model enzyme is indeed stably encapsulated into EVs. When assessing enzyme activity as indicator for EV stability, and in comparison to liposomes, we show that EVs are intrinsically stable during lyophilisation, an effect further enhanced by cryoprotectants. Our findings provide new insight for exploring lyophilisation as a novel storage modality and we create an important basis for standardised and advanced EV applications in biomedical research.
    • Focused Ultrasound as a Scalable and Contact-Free Method to Manufacture Protein-Loaded PLGA Nanoparticles.

      Schiller, Stefan; Hanefeld, Andrea; Schneider, Marc; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland,Saarbru¨ cken, Saarland 66123, Germany. (2015-09)
      Although nanomaterials are under investigation for a very broad range of medical applications, only a small fraction of these are already commercialized or in clinical development. A major challenge for the translation of nanomedicines into the clinic is the missing scalability of the available lab scale preparation methods and, ultimately, non-identical samples during early and late research.
    • Freeze-drying as a preserving preparation technique for in vitro testing of human skin.

      Franzen, Lutz; Vidlářová, Lucie; Kostka, Karl-Heinz; Schaefer, Ulrich F; Windbergs, Maike (2013-01)
      In vitro testing of drugs with excised human skin is a valuable prerequisite for clinical studies. However, the analysis of excised human skin presents several obstacles. Ongoing drug diffusion, microbial growth and changes in hydration state influence the results of drug penetration studies. In this work, we evaluate freeze-drying as a preserving preparation method for skin samples to overcome these obstacles. We analyse excised human skin before and after freeze-drying and compare these results with human skin in vivo. Based on comprehensive thermal and spectroscopic analysis, we demonstrate comparability to in vivo conditions and exclude significant changes within the skin samples due to freeze-drying. Furthermore, we show that freeze-drying after skin incubation with drugs prevents growth of drug crystals on the skin surface due to drying effects. In conclusion, we introduce freeze-drying as a preserving preparation technique for in vitro testing of human skin.
    • High-throughput phenotyping by applying digital morphometrics and fluorescence induction curves in seeds to identifying variations: A case study of Annona (Annonaceae) species

      Pontes, Montcharles S.; Montefusco-Pereira, Carlos V.; Misra, Biswapriya B.; Ribeiro-Junior, Howard L.; Graciano, Daniela E.; Santos, Jaqueline S.; Nobrega, Michele A.S.; Fernandes, Shaline S.L.; Caires, Anderson R.L.; Santiago, Etenaldo F.; et al.
    • Human alveolar epithelial cells expressing tight junctions to model the air-blood barrier.

      Kuehn, Anna; Kletting, Stephanie; de Souza Carvalho-Wodarz, Cristiane; Repnik, Urska; Griffiths, Gareth; Fischer, Ulrike; Meese, Eckart; Huwer, Hanno; Wirth, Dagmar; May, Tobias; et al. (2016-03-17)
      This paper describes a new human alveolar epithelial cell line (hAELVi - human Alveolar Epithelial Lentivirus immortalized) with type I-like characteristics and functional tight junctions, suitable to model the air-blood barrier of the peripheral lung. Primary human alveolar epithelial cells were immortalized by a novel regimen, grown as monolayers on permeable filter supports and characterized morphologically, biochemically and biophysically. hAELVi cells maintain the capacity to form tight intercellular junctions, with high trans-epithelial electrical resistance (> 1000 Ω*cm²). The cells could be kept in culture over several days, up to passage 75, under liquid-liquid as well as air-liquid conditions. Ultrastructural analysis and real time PCR revealed type I-like cell properties, such as the presence of caveolae, expression of caveolin-1, and absence of surfactant protein C. Accounting for the barrier properties, inter-digitations sealed with tight junctions and desmosomes were also observed. Low permeability of the hydrophilic marker sodium fluorescein confirmed the suitability of hAELVi cells for in vitro transport studies across the alveolar epithelium. These results suggest that hAELVi cells reflect the essential features of the air-blood barrier, as needed for an alternative to animal testing to study absorption and toxicity of inhaled drugs, chemicals and nanomaterials.
    • Impact of PEG and PEG-b-PAGE modified PLGA on nanoparticle formation, protein loading and release.

      Rietscher, René; Czaplewska, Justyna A; Majdanski, Tobias C; Gottschaldt, Michael; Schubert, Ulrich S; Schneider, Marc; Lehr, Claus-Michael (2016-03-16)
      The effect of modifying the well-established pharmaceutical polymer PLGA by different PEG-containing block-copolymers on the preparation of ovalbumin (OVA) loaded PLGA nanoparticles (NPs) was studied. The used polymers contained poly(d,l-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA), polyethylene glycol (PEG) and poly(allyl glycidyl ether) (PAGE) as building blocks. The double emulsion technique yielded spherical NPs in the size range from 170 to 220nm (PDI<0.15) for all the differently modified polymers, allowing to directly compare protein loading of and release. PEGylation is usually believed to increase the hydrophilic character of produced particles, favoring encapsulation of hydrophilic substances. However, in this study simple PEGylation of PLGA had only a slight effect on protein release. In contrast, incorporating a PAGE block between the PEG and PLGA units, also eventually enabling active targeting introducing a reactive group, led to a significantly higher loading (+25%) and release rate (+100%), compared to PLGA and PEG-b-PLGA NPs.
    • Improved input parameters for diffusion models of skin absorption.

      Hansen, Steffi; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Schaefer, Ulrich F; Drug Delivery, Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Helmholtz-Center for Infection Research (HZI), Saarbruecken, Germany. Steffi.hansen@helmholtz-hzi.de (2013-02)
      To use a diffusion model for predicting skin absorption requires accurate estimates of input parameters on model geometry, affinity and transport characteristics. This review summarizes methods to obtain input parameters for diffusion models of skin absorption focusing on partition and diffusion coefficients. These include experimental methods, extrapolation approaches, and correlations that relate partition and diffusion coefficients to tabulated physico-chemical solute properties. Exhaustive databases on lipid-water and corneocyte protein-water partition coefficients are presented and analyzed to provide improved approximations to estimate lipid-water and corneocyte protein-water partition coefficients. The most commonly used estimates of lipid and corneocyte diffusion coefficients are also reviewed. In order to improve modeling of skin absorption in the future diffusion models should include the vertical stratum corneum heterogeneity, slow equilibration processes, the absorption from complex non-aqueous formulations, and an improved representation of dermal absorption processes. This will require input parameters for which no suitable estimates are yet available.
    • In vitro and in vivo comparison between poractant alfa and the new generation synthetic surfactant CHF5633.

      Ricci, Francesca; Murgia, Xabier; Razzetti, Roberta; Pelizzi, Nicola; Salomone, Fabrizio; Helmholtz Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-02)
      CHF5633 is a new generation synthetic surfactant containing both SP-B and SP-C analogues developed for the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome. Here, the optimal dose and its performance in comparison to the animal-derived surfactant poractant alfa were investigated.
    • 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.
    • In vitro surfactant and perfluorocarbon aerosol deposition in a neonatal physical model of the upper conducting airways.

      Goikoetxea, Estibalitz; Murgia, Xabier; Serna-Grande, Pablo; Valls-i-Soler, Adolf; Rey-Santano, Carmen; Rivas, Alejandro; Antón, Raúl; Basterretxea, Francisco J; Miñambres, Lorena; Méndez, Estíbaliz; et al. (2014)
      Aerosol delivery holds potential to release surfactant or perfluorocarbon (PFC) to the lungs of neonates with respiratory distress syndrome with minimal airway manipulation. Nevertheless, lung deposition in neonates tends to be very low due to extremely low lung volumes, narrow airways and high respiratory rates. In the present study, the feasibility of enhancing lung deposition by intracorporeal delivery of aerosols was investigated using a physical model of neonatal conducting airways.
    • In vitro toxicological screening of nanoparticles on primary human endothelial cells and the role of flow in modulating cell response.

      Ucciferri, Nadia; Collnot, Eva-Marie; Gaiser, Birgit K; Tirella, Annalisa; Stone, Vicki; Domenici, Claudio; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Ahluwalia, Arti (2014-09)
      After passage through biological barriers, nanomaterials inevitably end up in contact with the vascular endothelium and can induce cardiovascular damage. In this study the toxicity and sub-lethal effects of six types of nanoparticle, including four of industrial and biomedical importance, on human endothelial cells were investigated using different in vitro assays. The results show that all the particles investigated induce some level of damage to the cells and that silver particles were most toxic, followed by titanium dioxide. Furthermore, endothelial cells were shown to be more susceptible when exposed to silver nanoparticles under flow conditions in a bioreactor. The study underlines that although simple in vitro tests are useful to screen compounds and to identify the type of effect induced on cells, they may not be sufficient to define safe exposure limits. Therefore, once initial toxicity screening has been conducted on nanomaterials, it is necessary to develop more physiologically relevant in vitro models to better understand how nanomaterials can impact on human health.