• Non-animal models of epithelial barriers (skin, intestine and lung) in research, industrial applications and regulatory toxicology

      Gordon, Sarah; Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Campus C23, D-66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2015)
    • Non-animal models of epithelial barriers (skin, intestine and lung) in research, industrial applications and regulatory toxicology.

      Gordon, Sarah; Daneshian, Mardas; Bouwstra, Joke; Caloni, Francesca; Constant, Samuel; Davies, Donna E; Dandekar, Gudrun; Guzman, Carlos A; Fabian, Eric; Haltner, Eleonore; et al. (2015)
      Models of the outer epithelia of the human body - namely the skin, the intestine and the lung - have found valid applications in both research and industrial settings as attractive alternatives to animal testing. A variety of approaches to model these barriers are currently employed in such fields, ranging from the utilization of ex vivo tissue to reconstructed in vitro models, and further to chip-based technologies, synthetic membrane systems and, of increasing current interest, in silico modeling approaches. An international group of experts in the field of epithelial barriers was convened from academia, industry and regulatory bodies to present both the current state of the art of non-animal models of the skin, intestinal and pulmonary barriers in their various fields of application, and to discuss research-based, industry-driven and regulatory-relevant future directions for both the development of new models and the refinement of existing test methods. Issues of model relevance and preference, validation and standardization, acceptance, and the need for simplicity versus complexity were focal themes of the discussions. The outcomes of workshop presentations and discussions, in relation to both current status and future directions in the utilization and development of epithelial barrier models, are presented by the attending experts in the current report.
    • 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.
    • Optical tweezers reveal relationship between microstructure and nanoparticle penetration of pulmonary mucus.

      Kirch, Julian; Schneider, Andreas; Abou, Bérengère; Hopf, Alexander; Schaefer, Ulrich F; Schneider, Marc; Schall, Christian; Wagner, Christian; Lehr, Claus-Michael (2012-11-06)
      In this study, the mobility of nanoparticles in mucus and similar hydrogels as model systems was assessed to elucidate the link between microscopic diffusion behavior and macroscopic penetration of such gels. Differences in particle adhesion to mucus components were strongly dependent on particle coating. Particles coated with 2 kDa PEG exhibited a decreased adhesion to mucus components, whereas chitosan strongly increased the adhesion. Despite such mucoinert properties of PEG, magnetic nanoparticles of both coatings did not penetrate through native respiratory mucus, resisting high magnetic forces (even for several hours). However, model hydrogels were, indeed, penetrated by both particles in dependency of particle coating, obeying the theory of particle mobility in an external force field. Comparison of penetration data with cryogenic scanning EM images of mucus and the applied model systems suggested particularly high rigidity of the mucin scaffold and a broad pore size distribution in mucus as reasons for the observed particle immobilization. Active probing of the rigidity of mucus and model gels with optical tweezers was used in this context to confirm such properties of mucus on the microscale, thus presenting the missing link between micro- and macroscopical observations. Because of high heterogeneity in the size of the voids and pores in mucus, on small scales, particle mobility will depend on adhesive or inert properties. However, particle translocation over distances larger than a few micrometers is restricted by highly rigid structures within the mucus mesh.
    • Organic cation transporter function in different in vitro models of human lung epithelium.

      Salomon, Johanna J; Gausterer, Julia C; Yahara, Tohru; Hosoya, Ken-Ichi; Huwer, Hanno; Hittinger, Marius; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Ehrhardt, Carsten; Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS);Saarland University, Building A4.1, 66123 Saarbruecken, Germany. (2015-12-01)
      Organic cation transporters (OCT) encoded by members of the solute carrier (SLC) 22 family of genes are involved in the disposition of physiological substrates and xenobiotics, including drugs used in the treatment of chronic obstructive lung diseases and asthma. The aim of this work was to identify continuously growing epithelial cell lines that closely mimic the organic cation transport of freshly isolated human alveolar type I-like epithelial cells (ATI) in primary culture, and which consequently, can be utilised as in vitro models for the study of organic cation transport at the air-blood barrier. OCT activity was investigated by measuring [(14)C]-tetraethylammonium (TEA) uptake into monolayers of Calu-3, NCI-H441 and A549 lung epithelial cell lines in comparison to ATI-like cell monolayers in primary culture. Levels of time-dependent TEA uptake were highest in A549 and ATI-like cells. In A549 cells, TEA uptake had a saturable and a non-saturable component with Km=528.5±373.1μM, Vmax=0.3±0.1nmol/min/mg protein and Kd=0.02μl/min/mg protein. TEA uptake into Calu-3 and NCI-H441 cells did not reach saturation within the concentration range studied. RNAi experiments in A549 cells confirmed that TEA uptake was mainly facilitated by OCT1 and OCT2. Co-incubation studies using pharmacological OCT modulators suggested that organic cation uptake pathways share several similarities between ATI-like primary cells and the NCI-H441 cell line, whereas more pronounced differences exist between primary cells and the A549 and Calu-3 cell lines.
    • Particle based vaccine formulations for transcutaneous immunization.

      Mittal, Ankit; Raber, Anne S; Hansen, Steffi; Biopharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology; Saarland University; Saarbruecken, Germany. (2013-06-18)
      Vaccine formulations on the basis of nano- (NP) or microparticles (MP) can solve issues with stabilization, controlled release, and poor immunogenicity of antigens. Likewise transcutaneous immunization (TCI) promises superior immunogenicity as well as the advantages of needle-free application compared with conventional intramuscular injections. Thus the combination of both strategies seems to be a very valuable approach. However, until now TCI using particle based vaccine formulations has made no impact on medical practice. One of the main difficulties is that NPs and MPs cannot penetrate the skin to an extent that would allow the application of the required dose of antigen. This is due to the formidable stratum corneum (SC) barrier, the limited amount of antigen in the formulation and often an insufficient immunogenicity. A multitude of strategies are currently under investigation to overcome these issues. We highlight selected methods presenting a spectrum of solutions ranging from transfollicular delivery, to devices disrupting the SC barrier and the combination of particle based vaccines with adjuvants discussing their advantages and shortcomings. Some of these are currently at an experimental state while others are already in clinical testing. All methods have been shown to be capable of transcutaneous antigen delivery.
    • Permutation Test (PT) and Tolerated Difference Test (TDT): two new, robust and powerful nonparametric tests for statistical comparison of dissolution profiles.

      Gómez-Mantilla, José-David; Casabó, Vicente Germán; Schaefer, Ulrich F; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Biopharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Saarland University, Campus A4.1, D-66123 Saarbruecken, Germany. (2013-01-30)
      The most popular way of comparing oral solid forms of drug formulations from different batches or manufacturers is through dissolution profile comparison. Usually, a similarity factor known as (f2) is employed; However, the level of confidence associated with this method is uncertain and its statistical power is low. In addition, f2 lacks the flexibility needed to perform in special scenarios. In this study two new statistical tests based on nonparametrical Permutation Test theory are described, the Permutation Test (PT), which is very restrictive to confer similarity, and the Tolerated Difference Test (TDT), which has flexible restrictedness to confer similarity, are described and compared to f2. The statistical power and robustness of the tests were analyzed by simulation using the Higuchi, Korsmayer, Peppas and Weibull dissolution models. Several batches of oral solid forms were simulated while varying the velocity of dissolution (from 30 min to 300 min to dissolve 85% of the total content) and the variability within each batch (CV 2-30%). For levels of variability below 10% the new tests exhibited better statistical power than f2 and equal or better robustness than f2. TDT can also be modified to distinguish different levels of similarity and can be employed to obtain customized comparisons for specific drugs. In conclusion, two new methods, more versatile and with a stronger statistical basis than f2, are described and proposed as viable alternatives to that method. Additionally, an optimized time sampling strategy and an experimental design-driven strategy for performing dissolution profile comparisons are described.
    • pH-triggered drug release from biodegradable microwells for oral drug delivery.

      Nielsen, Line Hagner; Nagstrup, Johan; Gordon, Sarah; Keller, Stephan Sylvest; Østergaard, Jesper; Rades, Thomas; Müllertz, Anette; Boisen, Anja (2015-06)
      Microwells fabricated from poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) were evaluated for their application as an oral drug delivery system using the amorphous sodium salt of furosemide (ASSF) as a model drug. Hot embossing of PLLA resulted in fabrication of microwells with an inner diameter of 240 μm and a height of 100 μm. The microwells were filled with ASSF using a modified screen printing technique, followed by coating of the microwell cavities with a gastro-resistant lid of Eudragit® L100. The release behavior of ASSF from the coated microwells was investigated using a μ-Diss profiler and a UV imaging system, and under conditions simulating the changing environment of the gastrointestinal tract. Biorelevant gastric medium (pH 1.6) was employed, after which a change to biorelevant intestinal release medium (pH 6.5) was carried out. Both μ-Diss profiler and UV imaging release experiments showed that sealing of microwell cavities with an Eudragit® layer prevented drug release in biorelevant gastric medium. An immediate release of the ASSF from coated microwells was observed in the intestinal medium. This pH-triggered release behavior demonstrates the future potential of PLLA microwells as a site-specific oral drug delivery system.
    • Physiological, Biochemical, and Biophysical Characterization of the Lung-Lavaged Spontaneously-Breathing Rabbit as a Model for Respiratory Distress Syndrome.

      Ricci, Francesca; Catozzi, Chiara; Murgia, Xabier; Rosa, Brenda; Amidani, Davide; Lorenzini, Luca; Bianco, Federico; Rivetti, Claudio; Catinella, Silvia; Villetti, Gino; et al. (2017)
      Nasal continuous positive airway pressure (nCPAP) is a widely accepted technique of non-invasive respiratory support in spontaneously-breathing premature infants with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). Surfactant administration techniques compatible with nCPAP ventilation strategy are actively investigated. Our aim is to set up and validate a respiratory distress animal model that can be managed on nCPAP suitable for surfactant administration techniques studies. Surfactant depletion was induced by bronchoalveolar lavages (BALs) on 18 adult rabbits. Full depletion was assessed by surfactant component analysis on the BALs samples. Animals were randomized into two groups: Control group (nCPAP only) and InSurE group, consisting of a bolus of surfactant (Poractant alfa, 200 mg/kg) followed by nCPAP. Arterial blood gases were monitored until animal sacrifice, 3 hours post treatment. Lung mechanics were evaluated just before and after BALs, at the time of treatment, and at the end of the procedure. Surfactant phospholipids and protein analysis as well as surface tension measurements on sequential BALs confirmed the efficacy of the surfactant depletion procedure. The InSurE group showed a significant improvement of blood oxygenation and lung mechanics. On the contrary, no signs of recovery were appreciated in animals treated with just nCPAP. The surfactant-depleted adult rabbit RDS model proved to be a valuable and efficient preclinical tool for mimicking the clinical scenario of preterm infants affected by mild/moderate RDS who spontaneously breathe and do not require mechanical ventilation. This population is of particular interest as potential target for the non-invasive administration of surfactant.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Process optimization and biocompatibility of cell carriers suitable for automated magnetic manipulation.

      Krejci, I; Piana, C; Howitz, S; Wegener, T; Fiedler, S; Zwanzig, M; Schmitt, D; Daum, N; Meier, K; Lehr, C M; et al. (2012-03)
      There is increasing demand for automated cell reprogramming in the fields of cell biology, biotechnology and the biomedical sciences. Microfluidic-based platforms that provide unattended manipulation of adherent cells promise to be an appropriate basis for cell manipulation. In this study we developed a magnetically driven cell carrier to serve as a vehicle within an in vitro environment. To elucidate the impact of the carrier on cells, biocompatibility was estimated using the human adenocarcinoma cell line Caco-2. Besides evaluation of the quality of the magnetic carriers by field emission scanning electron microscopy, the rate of adherence, proliferation and differentiation of Caco-2 cells grown on the carriers was quantified. Moreover, the morphology of the cells was monitored by immunofluorescent staining. Early generations of the cell carrier suffered from release of cytotoxic nickel from the magnetic cushion. Biocompatibility was achieved by complete encapsulation of the nickel bulk within galvanic gold. The insulation process had to be developed stepwise and was controlled by parallel monitoring of the cell viability. The final carrier generation proved to be a proper support for cell manipulation, allowing proliferation of Caco-2 cells equal to that on glass or polystyrene as a reference for up to 10 days. Functional differentiation was enhanced by more than 30% compared with the reference. A flat, ferromagnetic and fully biocompatible carrier for cell manipulation was developed for application in microfluidic systems. Beyond that, this study offers advice for the development of magnetic cell carriers and the estimation of their biocompatibility.
    • Redispersible spray-dried lipid-core nanocapsules intended for oral delivery: the influence of the particle number on redispersibility.

      Andrade, Diego Fontana de; Vukosavljevic, Branko; Benvenutti, Edilson Valmir; Pohlmann, Adriana Raffin; Guterres, Sílvia Stanisçuaski; Windbergs, Maike; Beck, Ruy Carlos Ruver; Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeitische Forschung Saarland, Universitäzscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-11-20)
      This study proposes a new approach to produce easily redispersible spray-dried lipid-core nanocapsules (LNC) intended for oral administration, evaluating the influence of the particle number density of the fed sample. The proposed approach to develop redispersible spray-dried LNC formulations intended for oral route is innovative, evidencing the needing of an optimization of the initial particle number density in the liquid suspension of nanocapsules. A mixture of maltodextrin and L-leucine (90:10 w/w) was used as drying adjuvant. Dynamic light scattering, turbidimetry, determination of surface area and pore size distribution, electron microscopy and confocal Raman microscopy (CRM) were used to characterize the proposed system and to better understand the differences in the redispersion behavior. An easily aqueous redispersion of the spray-dried powder composed of maltodextrin and L-leucine (90:10 w/w) was obtained, depending on the particle number density. Their surface area decreased in the presence of LNC. CRM enabled the visualization of the spatial distribution of the different compounds in the powders affording to better understand the influence of the particle number density of the fed sample on their redispersion behavior. This study shows the need for optimizing initial particle number density in the liquid formulation to develop redispersible spray-dried LNC powders.
    • The role of mucus on drug transport and its potential to affect therapeutic outcomes.

      Murgia, Xabier; Loretz, Brigitta; Hartwig, Olga; Hittinger, Marius; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2018-01-15)
      A layer of mucus covers the surface of all wet epithelia throughout the human body. Mucus is a hydrogel mainly composed of water, mucins (glycoproteins), DNA, proteins, lipids, and cell debris. This complex composition yields a tenacious viscoelastic hydrogel that lubricates and protects the exposed epithelia from external threats and enzymatic degradation. The natural protective role of mucus is nowadays acknowledged as a major barrier to be overcome in non-invasive drug delivery. The heterogeneity of mucus components offers a wide range of potential chemical interaction sites for macromolecules, while the mesh-like architecture given to mucus by the intermolecular cross-linking of mucin molecules results in a dense network that physically, and in a size-dependent manner, hinders the diffusion of nanoparticles through mucus. Consequently, drug diffusion, epithelial absorption, drug bioavailability, and ultimately therapeutic outcomes of mucosal drug delivery can be attenuated
    • 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.
    • Semi-automated nanoprecipitation-system--an option for operator independent, scalable and size adjustable nanoparticle synthesis.

      Rietscher, René; Thum, Carolin; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Schneider, Marc; Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS);Saarland University, Building A4.1, 66123 Saarbruecken, Germany. (2015-06)
      The preparation of nano-sized carrier systems increasingly moved into focus of pharmaceutical research and industry in the past decades. Besides the drug load and properties of the selected polymer/lipid, the size of such particles is one of the most important parameters regarding their use as efficient drug delivery systems. However, the preparation of nanoparticles with different sizes in a controlled manner is challenging, especially in terms of reproducibility and scale-up possibility. To overcome these hurdles we developed a system relying on nanoprecipitation, which meets all these requirements of an operator independent, scalable and size-adjustable nanoparticle synthesis-the Semi-Automated Nanoprecipitation-System. This system enables the adaption of the particle size to specific needs based on the process parameters-injection rate, flow rate and polymer concentration-identified within this study. The basic set-up is composed of a syringe pump and a gear pump for a precise control of the flow and injection speed of the system. Furthermore, a home-made tube-straightener guarantees a curvature-free injection point. Thus it could be shown that the production of poly(lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles from 150 to 600 nm with a narrow size distribution in a controlled semi-automatic manner is possible.
    • Setup for investigating gold nanoparticle penetration through reconstructed skin and comparison to published human skin data.

      Labouta, Hagar I; Thude, Sibylle; Schneider, Marc; Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland, Saarbrücken, Germany. (2013-06)
      Owing to the limited source of human skin (HS) and the ethical restrictions of using animals in experiments, in vitro skin equivalents are a possible alternative for conducting particle penetration experiments. The conditions for conducting penetration experiments with model particles, 15-nm gold nanoparticles (AuNP), through nonsealed skin equivalents are described for the first time. These conditions include experimental setup, sterility conditions, effective applied dose determination, skin sectioning, and skin integrity check. Penetration at different exposure times (two and 24 h) and after tissue fixation (fixed versus unfixed skin) are examined to establish a benchmark in comparison to HS in an attempt to get similar results to HS experiments presented earlier. Multiphoton microscopy is used to detect gold luminescence in skin sections. λ(ex)=800 nm is used for excitation of AuNP and skin samples, allowing us to determine a relative index for particle penetration. Despite the observed overpredictability of penetration into skin equivalents, they could serve as a first fast screen for testing the behavior of nanoparticles and extrapolate their penetration behavior into HS. Further investigations are required to test a wide range of particles of different physicochemical properties to validate the skin equivalent-human skin particle penetration relationship.
    • Solid Phase Extraction as an Innovative Separation Method for Measuring Free and Entrapped Drug in Lipid Nanoparticles.

      Guillot, Alexis; Couffin, Anne-Claude; Sejean, Xavier; Navarro, Fabrice; Limberger, Markus; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS);Saarland University, Building A4.1, 66123 Saarbruecken, Germany. (2015-12)
      Contrary to physical characterization techniques for nanopharmaceuticals (shape, size and zeta-potential), the techniques to quantify the free and the entrapped drug remain very few and difficult to transpose in routine analytical laboratories. The application of Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) technique was investigated to overcome this challenge.