• Characterization and evaluation of β-glucan formulations as injectable implants for protein and peptide delivery.

      Jacobs, Simone; Bunt, Craig R; Wu, Zimei; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Rupenthal, Ilva D; Biopharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany. (2012-11)
      Injectable implants are biodegradable, syringeable formulations that are injected as liquids, but form a gel inside the body due to a change in pH, ions or temperature.
    • Characterization of Microvesicles Released from Human Red Blood Cells.

      Nguyen, Duc Bach; Thuy Ly, Thi Bich; Wesseling, Mauro Carlos; Hittinger, Marius; Torge, Afra; Devitt, Andrew; Perrie, Yvonne; Bernhardt, Ingolf; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS),Saarland 9 University, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2016)
      Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are spherical fragments of cell membrane released from various cell types under physiological as well as pathological conditions. Based on their size and origin, EVs are classified as exosome, microvesicles (MVs) and apoptotic bodies. Recently, the release of MVs from human red blood cells (RBCs) under different conditions has been reported. MVs are released by outward budding and fission of the plasma membrane. However, the outward budding process itself, the release of MVs and the physical properties of these MVs have not been well investigated. The aim of this study is to investigate the formation process, isolation and characterization of MVs released from RBCs under conditions of stimulating Ca2+ uptake and activation of protein kinase C.
    • Chemical imaging of drug delivery systems with structured surfaces-a combined analytical approach of confocal raman microscopy and optical profilometry.

      Kann, Birthe; Windbergs, Maike; Department of Biopharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Saarland University, Campus A4.1, 66123 Saarbruecken, Germany. (2013-04)
      Confocal Raman microscopy is an analytical technique with a steadily increasing impact in the field of pharmaceutics as the instrumental setup allows for nondestructive visualization of component distribution within drug delivery systems. Here, the attention is mainly focused on classic solid carrier systems like tablets, pellets, or extrudates. Due to the opacity of these systems, Raman analysis is restricted either to exterior surfaces or cross sections. As Raman spectra are only recorded from one focal plane at a time, the sample is usually altered to create a smooth and even surface. However, this manipulation can lead to misinterpretation of the analytical results. Here, we present a trendsetting approach to overcome these analytical pitfalls with a combination of confocal Raman microscopy and optical profilometry. By acquiring a topography profile of the sample area of interest prior to Raman spectroscopy, the profile height information allowed to level the focal plane to the sample surface for each spectrum acquisition. We first demonstrated the basic principle of this complementary approach in a case study using a tilted silica wafer. In a second step, we successfully adapted the two techniques to investigate an extrudate and a lyophilisate as two exemplary solid drug carrier systems. Component distribution analysis with the novel analytical approach was neither hampered by the curvature of the cylindrical extrudate nor the highly structured surface of the lyophilisate. Therefore, the combined analytical approach bears a great potential to be implemented in diversified fields of pharmaceutical sciences.
    • 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
    • Ciprofloxacin-loaded PLGA nanoparticles against Cystic Fibrosis P. aeruginosa Lung Infections.

      Günday Türeli, Nazende; Torge, Afra; Juntke, Jenny; Schwarz, Bianca C; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; Türeli, Akif Emre; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Schneider, Marc; Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-05-02)
      Current pulmonary treatments against Pseudomonasaeruginosa infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) lung suffer from deactivation of the drug and immobilization in thick and viscous biofilm/mucus blend, along with the general antibiotic resistance. Administration of nanoparticles (NPs) with high antibiotic load capable of penetrating the tight mesh of biofilm/mucus can be an advent to overcome the treatment bottlenecks. Biodegradable and biocompatible polymer nanoparticles efficiently loaded with ciprofloxacin complex offer a solution for emerging treatment strategies. NPs were prepared under controlled conditions by utilizing MicroJet Reactor (MJR) to yield a particle size of 190.4±28.6 nm with 0.089 PDI. Encapsulation efficiency of the drug was 79% resulting in a loading of 14%. Release was determined to be controlled and medium-independent in PBS, PBS+0.2% Tween 80 and simulated lung fluid. Cytotoxicity assays with Calu3 cells and CF bronchial epithelial cells (CFBE41o(-)) indicated that complex loaded PLGA NPs were non-toxic at concentrations >MICcipro against lab strains of the bacteria. Antibacterial activity tests revealed enhanced activity when applied as nanoparticles. NPs' colloidal stability in mucus was proven. Notably, a decrease in mucus turbidity was observed upon incubation with NPs. Herewith, ciprofloxacin complex loaded PLGA NPs are introduced as promising pulmonary nano drug delivery systems against P.aeruginosa infections in CF lung.
    • Circulating Lipoproteins: A Trojan Horse Guiding Squalenoylated Drugs to LDL-Accumulating Cancer Cells.

      Sobot, Dunja; Mura, Simona; Rouquette, Marie; Vukosavljevic, Branko; Cayre, Fanny; Buchy, Eric; Pieters, Grégory; Garcia-Argote, Sébastien; Windbergs, Maike; Desmaële, Didier; et al. (2017-07-05)
      Selective delivery of anticancer drugs to rapidly growing cancercells can be achieved by taking advantage of their high receptor-mediated uptake of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs). Indeed, wehave recently discovered that nanoparticles made of the squa-lene derivative of the anticancer agent gemcitabine (SQGem)strongly interacted with the LDLs in the human blood. In thepresent study, we showed both in vitro and in vivo that suchinteraction led to the preferential accumulation of SQGem incancer cells (MDA-MB-231) with high LDL receptor expression.As a result, an improved pharmacological activity has beenobserved in MDA-MB-231 tumor-bearing mice, an experi-mental model with a low sensitivity to gemcitabine. Accord-ingly, we proved that the use of squalene moieties not onlyinduced the gemcitabine insertion into lipoproteins, but thatit could also be exploited to indirectly target cancer cells in vivo.
    • Co-culture of human alveolar epithelial (hAELVi) and macrophage (THP-1) cell lines.

      Kletting, Stephanie; Barthold, Sarah; Repnik, Urska; Griffiths, Gareth; Loretz, Brigitta; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; de Souza Carvalho-Wodarz, Cristiane; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Springer Nature, 2018-01-01)
      The air-blood barrier is mainly composed of alveolar epithelial cells and macrophages. Whereas the epithelium acts as a diffusional barrier, macrophages represent an immunological barrier, in particular for larger molecules and nanoparticles. This paper describes a new co-culture of human cell lines representing both cell types. Acquiring, culturing and maintaining primary alveolar epithelial cells presents significant logistical and technical difficulties. The recently established human alveolar epithelial lentivirus immortalized cell line, hAELVi, when grown on permeable filters, forms monolayers with high functional and morphological resemblance to alveolar type I cells. To model alveolar macrophages, the human cell line THP-1 was seeded on pre-formed hAELVi monolayers. The co-culture was characterized regarding cellular morphology, viability and barrier function. Macrophages were homogenously distributed on the epithelium and could be kept in co-culture for up to 7 days. Transmission electron microscopy showed loose contact between THP-1 and hAELVi cells. When grown at air liquid interface, both cells were covered with extracellular matrix-like structure, which was absent in THP-1 mono-culture. In co-culture with macrophages, hAELVi cells displayed similar, sometimes even higher, transepithelial electrical resistance than in mono-cultures. When exposed to silver and starch nanoparticles, hAELVi mono-cultures were more tolerant to the particles than THP-1 mono-cultures. Viability in the co-culture was similar to that of hAELVi mono-cultures. Transport studies with sodium fluorescein in the presence/absence of EDTA proved that the co-culture acts as functional diffusion barrier. These data demonstrate that hAELVi-/THP-1 co-cultures represent a promising model for safety and permeability studies of inhaled chemicals, drugs and nanoparticles.
    • Combining MucilAir™ and Vitrocell Powder Chamber for the In Vitro Evaluation of Nasal Ointments in the Context of Aerosolized Pollen.

      Metz, Julia; Knoth, Katharina; Groß, Henrik; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Stäbler, Carolin; Bock, Udo; Hittinger, Marius; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institute für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-05-10)
      Hay fever is notoriously triggered when nasal mucosa is exposed to allergenic pollen. One possibility to overcome this pollen exposure may be the application of an ointment with physical protective effects. In this context, we have investigated Bepanthen Eye and Nose Ointment and the ointment basis petrolatum as reference while using contemporary in vitro techniques. Pollen from false ragweed () was used as an allergy-causing model deposited as aerosol using the Vitrocell Powder Chamber (VPC) on Transwell inserts, while being coated with either Bepanthen Eye and Nose Ointment and petrolatum. No pollen penetration into ointments was observed upon confocal scanning laser microscopy during an incubation period of 2 h at 37 °C. The cellular response was further investigated by integrating the MucilAir™ cell system in the VPC and by applying pollen to Bepanthen Eye and Nose Ointment covered cell cultures. For comparison, MucilAir™ were stimulated by lipopolysaccharides (LPS). No increased cytokine release of IL-6, TNF-α, or IL-8 was found after 4 h of pollen exposure, which demonstrates the safety of such ointments. Since nasal ointments act as a physical barrier against pollen, such preparations might support the prevention and management of hay fever.
    • 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.
    • Crossing biological barriers for advanced drug delivery.

      Schneider, Marc; Windbergs, Maike; Daum, Nicole; Loretz, Brigitta; Collnot, Eva-Maria; Hansen, Steffi; Schaefer, Ulrich F; Lehr, Claus-Michael (2013-06)
      This special issue compiles invited and contributed papers of the 9th International Conference and Workshop "Biological Barriers", 29 February-9 March 2012 at Saarland University, Saarbrücken Germany.
    • 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.