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Pharmaceutics, Volume 16, Issue 3 (March 2024) – 140 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The opportunistic bacteria growing in biofilms play a decisive role in the pathogenesis of chronic infectious diseases. Antimicrobial adjuvants have emerged as a promising strategy to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and restore the efficacy of existing antibiotics. The co-delivery of antibiotics and potential antimicrobial adjuvants through encapsulation in lipid nanocarriers (LNCs) can improve the effects of antibiotics and potentially reduce bacterial resistance owing to the superior properties of LNCs compared to traditional formulations. This review discusses how LNC-enabled co-delivery of antibiotics and adjuvants can advance current clinical antimicrobial treatments, leading to innovative products, enabling the reuse of antibiotics, and providing opportunities to save millions of lives from bacterial infections. View this paper
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21 pages, 1750 KiB  
Article
Optimization of the Production Process of Clinical-Grade Human Salivary Gland Organoid-Derived Cell Therapy for the Treatment of Radiation-Induced Xerostomia in Head and Neck Cancer
by Jacoba van Zanten, Annelies Jorritsma-Smit, Hans Westra, Mirjam Baanstra, Anne de Bruin-Jellema, Derk Allersma, Bahez Gareb and Rob P. Coppes
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 435; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030435 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 705
Abstract
Head and neck cancer is a common cancer worldwide. Radiotherapy has an essential role in the treatment of head and neck cancers. After irradiation, early effects of reduced saliva flow and hampered water secretion are seen, along with cell loss and a decline [...] Read more.
Head and neck cancer is a common cancer worldwide. Radiotherapy has an essential role in the treatment of head and neck cancers. After irradiation, early effects of reduced saliva flow and hampered water secretion are seen, along with cell loss and a decline in amylase production. Currently, there is no curative treatment for radiation-induced hyposalivation/xerostomia. This study aimed to develop and optimize a validated manufacturing process for salivary gland organoid cells containing stem/progenitor cells using salivary gland patient biopsies as a starting material. The manufacturing process should comply with GMP requirements to ensure clinical applicability. A laboratory-scale process was further developed into a good manufacturing practice (GMP) process. Clinical-grade batches complying with set acceptance and stability criteria were manufactured. The results showed that the manufactured salivary gland-derived cells were able to self-renew, differentiate, and show functionality. This study describes the optimization of an innovative and promising novel cell-based therapy. Full article
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17 pages, 5859 KiB  
Article
Maleimide–Thiol Linkages Alter the Biodistribution of SN38 Therapeutic Microbubbles Compared to Biotin–Avidin While Preserving Parity in Tumoral Drug Delivery
by Nicola Ingram, Radwa H. Abou-Saleh, Amanda D. Race, Paul M. Loadman, Richard J. Bushby, Stephen D. Evans and P. Louise Coletta
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 434; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030434 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 710
Abstract
Therapeutic microbubbles (thMBs) contain drug-filled liposomes linked to microbubbles and targeted to vascular proteins. Upon the application of a destructive ultrasound trigger, drug uptake to tumour is improved. However, the structure of thMBs currently uses powerful non-covalent bonding of biotin with avidin-based proteins [...] Read more.
Therapeutic microbubbles (thMBs) contain drug-filled liposomes linked to microbubbles and targeted to vascular proteins. Upon the application of a destructive ultrasound trigger, drug uptake to tumour is improved. However, the structure of thMBs currently uses powerful non-covalent bonding of biotin with avidin-based proteins to link both the liposome to the microbubble (MB) and to bind the targeting antibody to the liposome–MB complex. This linkage is not currently FDA-approved, and therefore, an alternative, maleimide–thiol linkage, that is currently used in antibody–drug conjugates was examined. In a systematic manner, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2)-targeted MBs and thMBs using both types of linkages were examined for their ability to specifically bind to VEGFR2 in vitro and for their ultrasound imaging properties in vivo. Both showed equivalence in the production of the thMB structure, in vitro specificity of binding and safety profiles. In vivo imaging showed subtle differences for thMBs where biotin thMBs had a faster wash-in rate than thiol thMBs, but thiol thMBs were longer-lived. The drug delivery to tumours was also equivalent, but interestingly, thiol thMBs altered the biodistribution of delivery away from the lungs and towards the liver compared to biotin thMBs, which is an improvement in biosafety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lipid-Based Nanoparticles for Drug Delivery in Cancer)
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20 pages, 12958 KiB  
Article
Triboelectric Charging Properties of the Functional Groups of Common Pharmaceutical Materials Using Density Functional Theory Calculations
by James R. Middleton, Mojtaba Ghadiri and Andrew J. Scott
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 433; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030433 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 575
Abstract
Triboelectrification is a ubiquitous and poorly understood phenomenon in powder processing, particularly for pharmaceutical powders. Charged particles can adhere to vessel walls, causing sheeting; they can also cause agglomeration, threatening the stability of powder formulations, and in extreme cases electrostatic discharges, which present [...] Read more.
Triboelectrification is a ubiquitous and poorly understood phenomenon in powder processing, particularly for pharmaceutical powders. Charged particles can adhere to vessel walls, causing sheeting; they can also cause agglomeration, threatening the stability of powder formulations, and in extreme cases electrostatic discharges, which present a serious fire and explosion hazard. Triboelectrification is highly sensitive to environmental and material conditions, which makes it very difficult to compare experimental results from different publications. In this work, density functional theory (DFT) is used to investigate the charge transfer characteristics of several functional groups of paracetamol in order to better understand the mechanisms of charging at the nanoscale and the influence of the environmental and material properties on charge transfer. This is achieved by studying the structure and electronic properties at the molecule–substrate interface. Using this molecule–substrate approach, the charging contributions of individual functional groups are explored by examining the Hirschfeld charges, the charge density difference between the molecule and substrate, the density of states, and the location of the frontier orbitals (HOMO and LUMO) of a paracetamol molecule. Charge density difference calculations indicate a significant transfer of charge from the molecule to the surface. Observable regions of electron density enrichment and depletion are evident around the electron-donating and -withdrawing groups, respectively. The density of states for the paracetamol molecule evolves as it approaches the surface, and the band gap disappears upon contact with the substrate. Hirshfeld charge analysis reveals asymmetry in the charge redistribution around the molecule, highlighting the varying charging tendencies of different atoms. Full article
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18 pages, 1826 KiB  
Review
Polymer-Drug Anti-Thrombogenic and Hemocompatible Coatings as Surface Modifications
by Barbara Zawidlak-Węgrzyńska, Joanna Rydz, Marta Musioł and Aneta Radziwon-Balicka
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 432; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030432 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 643
Abstract
Since the 1960s, efforts have been made to develop new technologies to eliminate the risk of thrombosis in medical devices that come into contact with blood. Preventing thrombosis resulting from the contact of a medical device, such as an implant, with blood is [...] Read more.
Since the 1960s, efforts have been made to develop new technologies to eliminate the risk of thrombosis in medical devices that come into contact with blood. Preventing thrombosis resulting from the contact of a medical device, such as an implant, with blood is a challenge due to the high mortality rate of patients and the high cost of medical care. To this end, various types of biomaterials coated with polymer-drug layers are being designed to reduce their thrombogenicity and improve their hemocompatibility. This review presents the latest developments in the use of polymer-drug systems to produce anti-thrombogenic surfaces in medical devices in contact with blood, such as stents, catheters, blood pumps, heart valves, artificial lungs, blood vessels, blood oxygenators, and various types of tubing (such as for hemodialysis) as well as microfluidic devices. This paper presents research directions and potential clinical applications, emphasizing the importance of continued progress and innovation in the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Polymeric Drug Delivery Systems)
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38 pages, 7322 KiB  
Systematic Review
Targeting the Gut: A Systematic Review of Specific Drug Nanocarriers
by Patrizia Garbati, Cristiana Picco, Raffaella Magrassi, Paolo Signorello, Ludovica Cacopardo, Mauro Dalla Serra, Maria Grazia Faticato, Maria De Luca, Francesco Balestra, Maria Principia Scavo and Federica Viti
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030431 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1002
Abstract
The intestine is essential for the modulation of nutrient absorption and the removal of waste. Gut pathologies, such as cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and celiac disease, which extensively impact gut functions, are thus critical for human health. Targeted [...] Read more.
The intestine is essential for the modulation of nutrient absorption and the removal of waste. Gut pathologies, such as cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and celiac disease, which extensively impact gut functions, are thus critical for human health. Targeted drug delivery is essential to tackle these diseases, improve therapy efficacy, and minimize side effects. Recent strategies have taken advantage of both active and passive nanocarriers, which are designed to protect the drug until it reaches the correct delivery site and to modulate drug release via the use of different physical–chemical strategies. In this systematic review, we present a literature overview of the different nanocarriers used for drug delivery in a set of chronic intestinal pathologies, highlighting the rationale behind the controlled release of intestinal therapies. The overall aim is to provide the reader with useful information on the current approaches for gut targeting in novel therapeutic strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnology-Based Pharmaceutical Treatments)
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24 pages, 3582 KiB  
Review
Synthesis and Properties of Injectable Hydrogel for Tissue Filling
by Chunyu Xie, Ga Liu, Lingshuang Wang, Qiang Yang, Fuying Liao, Xiao Yang, Bo Xiao and Lian Duan
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 430; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030430 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 705
Abstract
Hydrogels with injectability have emerged as the focal point in tissue filling, owing to their unique properties, such as minimal adverse effects, faster recovery, good results, and negligible disruption to daily activities. These hydrogels could attain their injectability through chemical covalent crosslinking, physical [...] Read more.
Hydrogels with injectability have emerged as the focal point in tissue filling, owing to their unique properties, such as minimal adverse effects, faster recovery, good results, and negligible disruption to daily activities. These hydrogels could attain their injectability through chemical covalent crosslinking, physical crosslinking, or biological crosslinking. These reactions allow for the formation of reversible bonds or delayed gelatinization, ensuring a minimally invasive approach for tissue filling. Injectable hydrogels facilitate tissue augmentation and tissue regeneration by offering slow degradation, mechanical support, and the modulation of biological functions in host cells. This review summarizes the recent advancements in synthetic strategies for injectable hydrogels and introduces their application in tissue filling. Ultimately, we discuss the prospects and prevailing challenges in developing optimal injectable hydrogels for tissue augmentation, aiming to chart a course for future investigations. Full article
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12 pages, 3738 KiB  
Article
Mannose-Decorated Solid-Lipid Nanoparticles for Alveolar Macrophage Targeted Delivery of Rifampicin
by Hriday Bera, Caizhu Zhao, Xidong Tian, Dongmei Cun and Mingshi Yang
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 429; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030429 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 766
Abstract
Alveolar macrophages play a vital role in a variety of lung diseases, including tuberculosis. Thus, alveolar macrophage targeted anti-tubercular drug delivery through nanocarriers could improve its therapeutic response against tuberculosis. The current study aimed at exploring the efficacy of glyceryl monostearate (GMS)-based solid-lipid [...] Read more.
Alveolar macrophages play a vital role in a variety of lung diseases, including tuberculosis. Thus, alveolar macrophage targeted anti-tubercular drug delivery through nanocarriers could improve its therapeutic response against tuberculosis. The current study aimed at exploring the efficacy of glyceryl monostearate (GMS)-based solid-lipid nanoparticles (SLNs) and their mannose functionalized forms on the alveolar macrophage targeting ability of an anti-tubercular model drug, rifampicin (Rif). Rif-loaded SLNs were accomplished by the solvent diffusion method. These carriers with unimodal particle size distribution (~170 nm) were further surface-modified with mannose via Schiff-base reaction, leading to slight enhancement of particle diameter and a decline of drug loading capacity. The encapsulated Rif, which was molecularly dispersed within the matrices as indicated by their XRD patterns, was eluted in a sustained manner with an initial burst release effect. The uptake efficiency of mannose-modified SLNs was remarkably higher than that of corresponding native forms on murine macrophage Raw 264.7 cells and human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells. Eventually, the mannose-modified SLNs showed a greater cytotoxicity on Raw 264.7 and A549 cells relative to their unmodified forms. Overall, our study demonstrated that mannose modification of SLNs had an influence on their uptake by alveolar macrophages, which could provide guidance for the future development of alveolar macrophage targeted nanoformulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Nanomedicine and Nanotechnology)
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13 pages, 3196 KiB  
Article
Utilization and Evaluation of Rice Bran and Rice Bran Wax as a Tablet Lubricant
by Ornanong S. Kittipongpatana, Karnkamol Trisopon, Phanphen Wattanaarsakit and Nisit Kittipongpatana
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 428; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030428 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 601
Abstract
The rice bran and rice bran wax of the KJ CMU107 rice strain were investigated as potential tablet lubricants in a directly compressed tablet formulation. Stabilized full-fatted rice bran (sFFRB), stabilized defatted rice bran (sDFRB), and rice bran wax (RBW) extracted and purified [...] Read more.
The rice bran and rice bran wax of the KJ CMU107 rice strain were investigated as potential tablet lubricants in a directly compressed tablet formulation. Stabilized full-fatted rice bran (sFFRB), stabilized defatted rice bran (sDFRB), and rice bran wax (RBW) extracted and purified from crude rice bran oil (cRBO) were tested. Two commercial lubricants, including magnesium stearate (MGS) and hydrogenated cottonseed oil (HVO), were employed as the standards in the formulated mixtures, which contained spray-dried rice starch (SDRS) as a diluent. The tableting was carried out for each formulation, and the obtained tablets were physically and mechanically evaluated. Among the parameters investigated were the general appearance, ejection force, weight variation, hardness, friability, and disintegration time. The powder flow was also determined for each formulation. The results showed that the tablet ejection forces for all the lubricated formulations (58–259 N) were significantly lower than that of the non-lubricated control formulation (349 N). The use of sFFRB as a lubricant at 0.5–2.0% w/w could lower the ejection force up to 78%, but the hardness reduced so drastically that the formulations failed the friability test due to the chipping of the tablets’ edges. Moreover, sDFRB performed significantly better as the use at 0.5–1.0% w/w in the formulation helped to lower the ejection forces by up to 80% while maintaining the changes in the tablet hardness within 10%. RBW functioned effectively as a tablet lubricant at a concentration of 0.5% w/w, yielding tablets with good strength comparable to standard HVO lubricant while helping to reduce the ejection force by 82%. In formulations with good lubrication, i.e., friability < 1%, the powder flow was improved, and the tablet disintegration times were within the same range as the control and HVO formulations. In conclusion, sDFRB displayed a lubricant property at concentrations between 0.5 and 1.0% w/w, with slightly negative effects on the tablet hardness. RBW from KJ CMU107 rice was an effective tablet lubricant at 0.5% w/w, with no effect on tablet hardness. Both materials can be further developed for use as commercial lubricants in direct compression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Excipients Used in Pharmaceutical Dosage Forms)
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24 pages, 3524 KiB  
Article
NLC-Based Sunscreen Formulations with Optimized Proportion of Encapsulated and Free Filters Exhibit Enhanced UVA and UVB Photoprotection
by Margarete M. de Araújo, Andressa C. Schneid, Mariana S. Oliveira, Samuel V. Mussi, Miller N. de Freitas, Flávia C. Carvalho, Edson A. Bernes Junior, Renato Faro and Hatylas Azevedo
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 427; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030427 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 859
Abstract
The topical use of sunscreens is recommended for avoiding the damaging effects of UV radiation. However, improvements are still needed in the existing products to enhance their photoprotection effectiveness and safety. This involves minimizing the use of chemical UV filters while providing enhanced [...] Read more.
The topical use of sunscreens is recommended for avoiding the damaging effects of UV radiation. However, improvements are still needed in the existing products to enhance their photoprotection effectiveness and safety. This involves minimizing the use of chemical UV filters while providing enhanced and prolonged photoprotection. This work investigated novel sunscreen formulations and their UV protection effects by encapsulating Uvinul® A, Tinosorb® S, and Uvinul® T150 into nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs) based on bacuri butter and raspberry seed oil. First, the impact of critical formulation and process parameters on NLCs’ particle size was evaluated using a 22 Face Centered Central Composite Design. Then, formulations were evaluated in terms of critical quality factors, in vitro skin permeation, and in vitro and in vivo photoprotection activities. The developed NLCs-containing formulations exhibited appropriate size (122–135 nm), PdI (<0.3), encapsulation efficiency (>90%), and drug content (>80%), which were preserved for at least 90 days under different stability conditions. Moreover, these NLCs-based formulations had equivalent skin permeation to emulsion-based controls, and the addition of NLCs into sunscreen cream bases in the optimum proportion of 20% (w/w) resulted in enhanced UVA and UVB photoprotection levels, despite a 10% reduction in the total filters content. Altogether, these results describe the application of nanoencapsulated organic UV filters in innovative sunscreen formulations to achieve superior photoprotection and cosmeceutical properties. Full article
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14 pages, 2287 KiB  
Communication
Safety of Repeated Administration of Xenogeneic Human Apoptotic State (Allocetra-OTS) in Sprague Dawley Rats
by Chen Ankri, Oren Hershkovitz, Liat Hershkovitz, Meital Brami, Ronnie Levy, Hadar Sarig, Einat Souli, Barak Reicher, Veronique Amor-Baroukh, Dror Mevorach and Abraham Nyska
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030426 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 583
Abstract
Apoptotic cells possess immunomodulatory effects that can be utilized to treat imbalanced immune conditions. Information on the preclinical safety of such treatment is sparse. In this study, the safety of apoptotic cells (Allocetra-OTS) was assessed in a GLP toxicological study on Sprague Dawley [...] Read more.
Apoptotic cells possess immunomodulatory effects that can be utilized to treat imbalanced immune conditions. Information on the preclinical safety of such treatment is sparse. In this study, the safety of apoptotic cells (Allocetra-OTS) was assessed in a GLP toxicological study on Sprague Dawley rats. Three doses of Allocetra-OTS or vehicle were administered intravenously (IV) for 3 consecutive days. Animals in the main study were sacrificed on day 4, while animals from the recovery groups were kept for 14 or 28 days. Allocetra-OTS was well tolerated, and no adverse effects were observed in terms of body weight, clinical signs, food consumption, or ophthalmologic observation. Thus, the No Observed Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL) dose was determined as the highest dose administered. An observed elevation in immune cells was suspected to be due to Allocetra-OTS, similarly to other clinical chemistry parameters; however, it was resolved in the recovery phases. Splenomegaly and dose-related extramedullary hematopoiesis (EMH) in the red pulp were observed, with no adverse events, and were considered to be a normal and expected reaction following the IV administration of cell-based therapies. In conclusion, under the conditions of this study, Allocetra-OTS was concluded to be safe, further supporting its potential candidacy for clinical studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Pharmaceutical Science and Technology in Israel)
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3 pages, 128 KiB  
Editorial
Preface to Special Issue: Drug Transporters: Regulation and Roles in Therapeutic Strategies
by Guofeng You
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 425; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030425 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 547
Abstract
Drug transporters are membrane proteins, mediating, across cell membranes, the absorption, distribution, and excretion of a diverse array of endogenous and exogenous substances such as nutrients, metabolites, toxins, and drugs [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Transporters: Regulation and Roles in Therapeutic Strategies)
11 pages, 2714 KiB  
Article
Novel Fluorescent Strategy for Discriminating T and B Lymphocytes Using Transport System
by Heewon Cho, Na-Kyeong Hong and Young-Tae Chang
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 424; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030424 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 631
Abstract
Fluorescent bioprobes are invaluable tools for visualizing live cells and deciphering complex biological processes by targeting intracellular biomarkers without disrupting cellular functions. In addition to protein-binding concepts, fluorescent probes utilize various mechanisms, including membrane, metabolism, and gating-oriented strategies. This study introduces a novel [...] Read more.
Fluorescent bioprobes are invaluable tools for visualizing live cells and deciphering complex biological processes by targeting intracellular biomarkers without disrupting cellular functions. In addition to protein-binding concepts, fluorescent probes utilize various mechanisms, including membrane, metabolism, and gating-oriented strategies. This study introduces a novel fluorescent mechanism distinct from existing ways. Here, we developed a B cell selective probe, CDrB, with unique transport mechanisms. Through SLC-CRISPRa screening, we identified two transporters, SLCO1B3 and SLC25A41, by sorting out populations exhibiting higher and lower fluorescence intensities, respectively, demonstrating contrasting activities. We confirmed that SLCO1B3, with comparable expression levels in T and B cells, facilitates the transport of CDrB into cells, while SLC25A41, overexpressed in T lymphocytes, actively exports CDrB. This observation suggests that SLC25A41 plays a crucial role in discriminating between T and B lymphocytes. Furthermore, it reveals the potential for the reversible localization of SLC25A41 to demonstrate its distinct activity. This study is the first report to unveil a novel strategy of SLC by exporting the probe. We anticipate that this research will open up new avenues for developing fluorescent probes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transport and Metabolism of Small-Molecule Drugs, 2nd Edition)
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16 pages, 3937 KiB  
Review
Alginate and Chitosan-Based Delivery Systems for Improving the Bioavailability and Therapeutic Efficacy of Curcumin
by Anand A. Sable, Amit Kunwar and Atanu Barik
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 423; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030423 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 790
Abstract
One of the major challenges in harnessing the therapeutic benefits of curcumin (an active ingredient from turmeric) is its poor bioavailability due to its short biological half-life. In this regard, nanoformulations have shown tremendous hope for improving the pharmacokinetic and therapeutic behavior of [...] Read more.
One of the major challenges in harnessing the therapeutic benefits of curcumin (an active ingredient from turmeric) is its poor bioavailability due to its short biological half-life. In this regard, nanoformulations have shown tremendous hope for improving the pharmacokinetic and therapeutic behavior of curcumin by altering its biological stability and bioavailability. Biopolymers, especially alginate and chitosan, have received special attention as excipients to prepare nanoformulations of curcumin due to their abundant availability, biocompatibility, and amicability to form different types of self-assembled structures and ease of undergoing chemical modifications. However, there are certain challenges, such as poor water solubility under physiological conditions and heterogeneity with regard to molecular weight and large-scale production of well-preserved nanostructures. Substantial advancement has been achieved towards overcoming these challenges by developing newer derivatives through a chemical modifications approach, and this has ascertained the suitability of alginate and chitosan as excipients for drug delivery systems (DDS). The present minireview briefly discusses curcumin and its limitation as a drug molecule, carbohydrates as DDS, and the recent developments related to the alginate and chitosan-based nanoformulations of curcumin. Special emphasis has been given to highlighting the impact of alginate and chitosan-based nanoformulations in improving the therapeutic efficacy and bioavailability of curcumin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Curcumin Nanoparticles: Delivery and Therapy)
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14 pages, 4923 KiB  
Article
Intracellular Delivery of Therapeutic Protein via Ultrathin Layered Double Hydroxide Nanosheets
by He Zhang, Anle Ge, Yulin Wang, Boran Xia, Xichu Wang, Zhonghui Zheng, Changsheng Wei, Bo Ma, Lin Zhu, Rose Amal, Sung Lai Jimmy Yun and Zi Gu
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030422 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 728
Abstract
The therapeutic application of biofunctional proteins relies on their intracellular delivery, which is hindered by poor cellular uptake and transport from endosomes to cytoplasm. Herein, we constructed a two-dimensional (2D) ultrathin layered double hydroxide (LDH) nanosheet for the intracellular delivery of a cell-impermeable [...] Read more.
The therapeutic application of biofunctional proteins relies on their intracellular delivery, which is hindered by poor cellular uptake and transport from endosomes to cytoplasm. Herein, we constructed a two-dimensional (2D) ultrathin layered double hydroxide (LDH) nanosheet for the intracellular delivery of a cell-impermeable protein, gelonin, towards efficient and specific cancer treatment. The LDH nanosheet was synthesized via a facile method without using exfoliation agents and showed a high loading capacity of proteins (up to 182%). Using 2D and 3D 4T1 breast cancer cell models, LDH–gelonin demonstrated significantly higher cellular uptake efficiency, favorable endosome escape ability, and deep tumor penetration performance, leading to a higher anticancer efficiency, in comparison to free gelonin. This work provides a promising strategy and a generalized nanoplatform to efficiently deliver biofunctional proteins to unlock their therapeutic potential for cancer treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Drug Delivery Strategies Based on Porous Materials)
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12 pages, 1147 KiB  
Article
Formulation and Evaluation of Mucoadhesive Oral Care Gel Containing Kaempferia galanga Extract
by Indah Suasani Wahyuni, Irna Sufiawati, Amira Shafuria, Wipawee Nittayananta and Jutti Levita
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 421; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030421 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 674
Abstract
The rhizome of Kaempferia galanga (Zingiberaceae) is extensively used in traditional medicine by utilizing its various biological activities. It has been proven that ethyl-para-methoxycinnamate (EPMC) and other polyphenolic compounds are present in considerable amounts in the ethanolic extract of K. galanga [...] Read more.
The rhizome of Kaempferia galanga (Zingiberaceae) is extensively used in traditional medicine by utilizing its various biological activities. It has been proven that ethyl-para-methoxycinnamate (EPMC) and other polyphenolic compounds are present in considerable amounts in the ethanolic extract of K. galanga rhizome (EKG). Our previous study confirmed that a dose of 0.5–1% of EKG demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity and a wound-healing effect in chemical-induced oral mucosal ulcers of Wistar rats. Currently, there are no reports on the formulation of oral gel containing EKG, thus revealing the potential of EKG to be developed as a herbal oral gel for mucosal ulcers. This study aims to formulate the best mucoadhesive oral care gel containing EKG in terms of physical stability. The presence of EPMC and the total phenols in the best EKG gel were also determined. The results revealed that Carbopol 934 is the best gelling agent for EKG gel preparations as proven by its stability during 14 days of storage. The statistical analysis resulted in a significant difference between the physical stability of the Carbopol 934-based EKG gel preparation compared to three commercial oral care gel products (p < 0.05). RP-HPLC chromatograms indicated that EPMC was identified in Carbopol 934-based gels containing 5% and 10% EKG at 6.056 and 6.146 min, respectively, with polyphenol levels of 1201.2557 mg/kg and 1849.1506 mg/kg, respectively. The hedonic test performed on 30 respondents to measure the degree of consumer acceptance and satisfaction confirmed that 5% EKG gel is the most sensorially accepted by the respondents. Data were analyzed using paired t-tests, one-way ANOVA, and a Kruskal–Wallis test. Taken together, the Carbopol 934-based gel containing 5% EKG could potentially be further developed as a topical anti-oral mucosal ulcer drug for clinical purposes. Full article
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17 pages, 4168 KiB  
Article
Analytical Insights into Protein–Alum Interactions and Their Impact on Conformational Epitope
by Alessio Corrado, Mila Toppazzini, Alessandro Vadi, Carmine Malzone, Rosy Galasso, Alessandro Donati, Riccardo De Ricco and Francesco Berti
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 420; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030420 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 702
Abstract
Several alum-adjuvanted vaccines have been licensed in the past 40 years. Despite its extensive and continuous use, the immune mechanism of action of alum adjuvants is not yet completely understood. Many different variables during the formulation process have been assessed as critical for [...] Read more.
Several alum-adjuvanted vaccines have been licensed in the past 40 years. Despite its extensive and continuous use, the immune mechanism of action of alum adjuvants is not yet completely understood. Many different variables during the formulation process have been assessed as critical for alum-adjuvanted vaccines, although most of them are still not yet fully understood. The absence of a clear understanding of all the possible variables regulating the mechanism of action and the behavior that alum adjuvant imposes on the protein antigen may also be related to analytical challenges. For this reason, there is an urgent need for a fast and simple tool that is possible without a preliminary sample manipulation and is able to control the amount and the degree of antigen adsorption levels and their consistency across different production processes. This work attempts to develop new analytical tools with the aim of directly quantifying and assessing both the content and/or the purity of formulated alum-adsorbed antigens, without any preliminary sample manipulation (e.g., antigen desorption) being reported. In addition, the different confirmation/behavior in terms of the response to specific monoclonal antibodies in the presence of different ratios of alum-OH adsorbent antigens have been investigated. As a proxy to develop new analytical tools, three recombinant protein adsorbed models were used as follows: Neisseria adhesin A (NadA), Neisserial Heparin Binding Antigen (NHBA), and factor H binding protein (fHbp) as antigens, as well as aluminum hydroxide (AH) as an adjuvant system. The selection of the adjuvanted system model was dictated due to the substantial quantity of the literature regarding the protein structure and immunological activities, meaning that they are well characterized, including their adhesion rate to alum. In conclusion, three different analytical tools were explored to quantify, detect, and study the behavior of antigens in the presence of the alum adjuvant. Full article
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13 pages, 722 KiB  
Article
The Physicochemical Compatibility of Sildenafil Injection with Parenteral Medications Used in Neonatal Intensive Care Settings
by D. Thisuri N. De Silva, Tobias Strunk, Michael Petrovski, Madhu Page-Sharp, Brioni R. Moore and Kevin T. Batty
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 419; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030419 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 927
Abstract
Sildenafil is used to treat pulmonary hypertension in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) settings. As multiple intravenous (IV) medications are co-administered in NICU settings, we sought to investigate the physicochemical compatibility of sildenafil with a range of IV drugs. Sildenafil 600 mcg/mL or [...] Read more.
Sildenafil is used to treat pulmonary hypertension in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) settings. As multiple intravenous (IV) medications are co-administered in NICU settings, we sought to investigate the physicochemical compatibility of sildenafil with a range of IV drugs. Sildenafil 600 mcg/mL or 60 mcg/mL was mixed 1:1 with the secondary drug solution to simulate Y-site co-administration procedures. Physical compatibility was evaluated by visual observation against a black and white background and under polarized light for two hours for changes in colour, precipitation, haze and evolution of gas. Chemical compatibility was determined from sildenafil concentrations, using a validated, stability-indicating high-performance liquid chromatography assay. Sildenafil 600 mcg/mL was physicochemically compatible with 29 of the 45 drugs tested at ‘high-end’ clinical concentrations and physically incompatible with 16 drugs and six ‘2-in-1’ parenteral nutrition solutions. Sildenafil 600 mcg/mL was compatible with lower, clinically relevant concentrations of calcium gluconate, heparin and hydrocortisone. Aciclovir, amoxicillin, ampicillin, ibuprofen lysine, indometacin, phenobarbitone and rifampicin were incompatible with sildenafil 600 mcg/mL, however these IV medications were compatible with sildenafil 60 mcg/mL. Sildenafil 600 mcg/mL and 60 mcg/mL were incompatible with amphotericin, flucloxacillin, furosemide, ibuprofen, meropenem and sodium bicarbonate. Sildenafil compatibility with commonly used syringe filters was also investigated. Sildenafil solution was compatible with nylon syringe filters, however, absorption/adsorption loss occurred with polyethersulfone and cellulose ester filters. Full article
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14 pages, 1303 KiB  
Article
Cannabinoid-Induced Inhibition of Morphine Glucuronidation and the Potential for In Vivo Drug–Drug Interactions
by Shelby Coates, Keti Bardhi and Philip Lazarus
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 418; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030418 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1128
Abstract
Opioids are commonly prescribed for the treatment of chronic pain. Approximately 50% of adults who are prescribed opioids for pain co-use cannabis with their opioid treatment. Morphine is primarily metabolized by UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) 2B7 to an inactive metabolite, morphine-3-glucuronide (M3G), and an active [...] Read more.
Opioids are commonly prescribed for the treatment of chronic pain. Approximately 50% of adults who are prescribed opioids for pain co-use cannabis with their opioid treatment. Morphine is primarily metabolized by UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) 2B7 to an inactive metabolite, morphine-3-glucuronide (M3G), and an active metabolite, morphine-6-glucuronide (M6G). Previous studies have shown that major cannabis constituents including Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) inhibit major UGT enzymes. To examine whether cannabinoids or their major metabolites inhibit morphine glucuronidation by UGT2B7, in vitro assays and mechanistic static modeling were performed with these cannabinoids and their major metabolites including 11-hydroxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (11-OH-THC), 11-nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (11-COOH-THC), 7-hydroxy-cannabidiol (7-OH-CBD), and 7-carboxy-cannabidiol (7-COOH-CBD). In vitro assays with rUGT-overexpressing microsomes and human liver microsomes showed that THC and CBD and their metabolites inhibited UGT2B7-mediated morphine metabolism, with CBD and THC exhibiting the most potent Ki,u values (0.16 µM and 0.37 µM, respectively). Only 7-COOH-CBD exhibited no inhibitory activity against UGT2B7-mediated morphine metabolism. Static mechanistic modeling predicted an in vivo drug–drug interaction between morphine and THC after inhaled cannabis, and between THC, CBD, and 7-OH-CBD after oral consumption of cannabis. These data suggest that the co-use of these agents may lead to adverse drug events in humans. Full article
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17 pages, 1697 KiB  
Article
Medication Lubricants for Oral Delivery of Drugs: Oral Processing Reduces Thickness, Changes Characteristics, and Improves Dissolution Profile
by Marwa A. Malouh, Julie A. Y. Cichero, Yu Sun, Esther T. L. Lau, Lisa M. Nissen and Kathryn J. Steadman
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 417; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030417 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 580
Abstract
Swallowing oral solid dosage forms is challenging for those who have medication swallowing difficulties, including patients with dysphagia. One option is to mix the drug (whole or crushed) with a thick vehicle (medication lubricant). Previous in vitro studies consistently suggest that thick vehicles [...] Read more.
Swallowing oral solid dosage forms is challenging for those who have medication swallowing difficulties, including patients with dysphagia. One option is to mix the drug (whole or crushed) with a thick vehicle (medication lubricant). Previous in vitro studies consistently suggest that thick vehicles could impact the dissolution of solid dosage forms, potentially influencing their therapeutic effectiveness, but do not account for changes that happen during oral processing and swallowing. This study aims to investigate the potential impact of medication lubricants on drug release and examine the effect of oral processing. In vitro dissolution of whole and crushed paracetamol tablets mixed with five commercially available medication lubricants (two IDDSI level 2, two IDDSI level 3, and one IDDSI level 4) were tested with and without oral processing; a medication lubricant with/without paracetamol was placed in the mouth (five healthy volunteers), prepared for swallowing, but then expectorated and assessed for physical characteristics and drug release. Medication lubricants, both alone and mixed with crushed paracetamol tablets, showed a significant decrease in viscosity after oral processing. Without oral processing, IDDSI level 3 and 4 lubricants significantly delayed the dissolution of paracetamol tablets. After oral processing, particularly with crushed tablets, there was a substantial increase in the dissolution rate. These findings suggest that dissolution testing overestimates the impact of medication lubricants on drug dissolution. Therefore, using in vitro dissolution tests to predict the dissolution rate of medications mixed with thick vehicles is discouraged. It is essential to consider ways to incorporate the effects of the oral environment and oral processing on thick vehicles used for oral medication administration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmaceutical Technology, Manufacturing and Devices)
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14 pages, 3415 KiB  
Article
Preparation of Nanoparticles Loaded with Membrane-Impermeable Peptide AC3-I and Its Protective Effect on Myocardial Ischemia and Reperfusion
by Yi Liu, Yingyi Niu, Wenjie Zhang, Kaikai Wang, Tianqing Liu and Weizhong Zhu
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 416; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030416 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 615
Abstract
Purpose: It is well known that inhibition of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) provides cardiac protection in cases of myocardial ischemia–reperfusion injury. However, there are currently no cytoplasm-impermeable drugs that target CaMKII. The aim of this study was to develop curcumin [...] Read more.
Purpose: It is well known that inhibition of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) provides cardiac protection in cases of myocardial ischemia–reperfusion injury. However, there are currently no cytoplasm-impermeable drugs that target CaMKII. The aim of this study was to develop curcumin albumin nanoparticles (HSA-CCM NPs) containing AC3-I and investigate their protective effects on hypoxia–reoxygenation (H/R)-induced injuries in adult rat cardiomyocytes and ischemia–reperfusion (I/R) injuries in isolated rat hearts. Methods: HSA-CCM NPs were synthesized using β-ME methods, while the membrane-impermeable peptide AC3-I was covalently linked via a disulfide bond to synthesize AC3-I@HSA-CCM NPs (AC3-I@NPs). Nanoparticle stability and drug release were characterized. To assess the cardiomyocyte uptake of AC3-I@NPs, AC3-I@NPs were incubated with cardiomyocytes under normoxia and hypoxia, respectively. The cardioprotective effect of AC3-I@NPs was determined by using a lactate dehydrogenase kit (LDH) and PI/Hoechst staining. The phosphorylation of phospholamban (p-PLB) was detected by Western blotting in hypoxia–reoxygenation and electric field stimulation models. To further investigate the protective role of AC3-I@NPs against myocardial ischemia–reperfusion injury, we collected coronary effluents and measured creatine kinase (CK) and LDH release in Langendorff rat hearts. Results:AC3-I@NPs were successfully prepared and characterized. Both HSA-CCM NPs and AC3-I@NPs were taken up by cardiomyocytes. AC3-I@NPs protected cardiomyocytes from injury caused by hypoxia–reoxygenation, as demonstrated by decreased cardiomyocyte death and LDH release. AC3-I@NPs reduced p-PLB levels evoked by hypoxia–reoxygenation and electrical field stimulation in adult rat cardiac myocytes. AC3-I@NPs decreased the release of LDH and CK from coronary effluents. Conclusions: AC3-I@NPs showed protective effects against myocardial injuries induced by hypoxia–reoxygenation in cardiomyocytes and ischemia–reperfusion in isolated hearts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Nanoparticles for Disease Treatment and Diagnosis)
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20 pages, 3814 KiB  
Article
Trypanocidal and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Three ent-Kaurane Diterpenoids from Gymnocoronis spilanthoides var. subcordata (Asteraceae)
by Mariana G. Selener, Jimena Borgo, Maria Belen Sarratea, Maria Alicia Delfino, Laura C. Laurella, Natacha Cerny, Jessica Gomez, Mauro Coll, Emilio L. Malchiodi, Augusto E. Bivona, Patricia Barrera, Flavia C. Redko, César A. N. Catalán, Andrés Sánchez Alberti and Valeria P. Sülsen
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030415 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 751
Abstract
Chagas disease, caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, affects 6–7 million people worldwide. The dichloromethane extract obtained from the aerial parts of Gymnocoronis spilanthoides var subcordata showed trypanocidal activity in vitro. The fractionation of the dewaxed organic extract via column chromatography led [...] Read more.
Chagas disease, caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, affects 6–7 million people worldwide. The dichloromethane extract obtained from the aerial parts of Gymnocoronis spilanthoides var subcordata showed trypanocidal activity in vitro. The fractionation of the dewaxed organic extract via column chromatography led to the isolation of three diterpenoids: ent-9α,11α-dihydroxy-15-oxo-kaur-16-en-19-oic acid or adenostemmoic acid B, (16R)-ent-11α-hydroxy-15-oxokauran-19-oic acid and ent-11α-hydroxy-15-oxo-kaur-16-en-19-oic acid. These compounds showed IC50 values of 10.6, 15.9 and 4.8 µM against T. cruzi epimastigotes, respectively. When tested against amastigotes, the diterpenoids afforded IC50 values of 6.1, 19.5 and 60.6 µM, respectively. The cytotoxicity of the compounds was tested on mammalian cells using an MTT assay, resulting in CC50s of 321.8, 23.3 and 14.8 µM, respectively. The effect of adenostemmoic acid B on T. cruzi was examined at the ultrastructural level using transmission microscopy. Treatment with 20 μM for 48 h stimulated the formation of abnormal cytosolic membranous structures in the parasite. This compound also showed an anti-inflammatory effect in murine macrophages stimulated with LPS and other TLR agonists. Treatment of macrophages with adenostemmoic acid B was able to reduce TNF secretion and nitric oxide production, while increasing IL-10 production. The combination of adenostemmoic acid B with benznidazole resulted in greater inhibition of NF-kB and a decrease in nitrite concentration. The administration of adenostemmoic acid B to mice infected with trypomastigotes of T. cruzi at the dose of 1 mg/kg/day for five days produced a significant decrease in parasitemia levels and weight loss. Treatment with the association with benznidazole increased the survival time of the animals. In view of these results, adenostemmoic acid B could be considered a promising candidate for further studies in the search for new treatments for Chagas disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product Pharmaceuticals)
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15 pages, 3368 KiB  
Article
Synthesis and Characterization of ZIF-90 Nanoparticles as Potential Brain Cancer Therapy
by Lorenzo Monarca, Francesco Ragonese, Paola Sabbatini, Concetta Caglioti, Matteo Stamegna, Federico Palazzetti, Paolo Sportoletti, Ferdinando Costantino and Bernard Fioretti
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030414 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 810
Abstract
Human glioblastoma is probably the most malignant and aggressive among cerebral tumors, of which it represents approximately 80% of the reported cases, with an overall survival rate that is quite low. Current therapies include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, with associated consistent side effects [...] Read more.
Human glioblastoma is probably the most malignant and aggressive among cerebral tumors, of which it represents approximately 80% of the reported cases, with an overall survival rate that is quite low. Current therapies include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, with associated consistent side effects and low efficacy. The hardness in reaching the site of action, and overcoming the blood–brain barrier, is a major limitation of pharmacological treatments. In this paper, we report the synthesis and characterization of ZIF-90 (ZIF, Zeolitic Imidazolate Framework) nanoparticles as putative carriers of anticancer drugs to the brain. In particular, we successfully evaluated the biocompatibility of these nanoparticles, their stability in body fluids, and their ability to uptake in U251 human glioblastoma cell lines. Furthermore, we managed to synthesize ZIF-90 particles loaded with berberine, an alkaloid reported as a possible effective adjuvant in the treatment of glioblastoma. These findings could suggest ZIF-90 as a possible new strategy for brain cancer therapy and to study the physiological processes present in the central nervous system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomedicines in Cancer Therapy)
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10 pages, 2033 KiB  
Article
Goethite and Hematite Nanoparticles Show Promising Anti-Toxoplasma Properties
by Kosei Ishii, Eiji Akahoshi, Oluyomi Stephen Adeyemi, Hironori Bando, Yasuhiro Fukuda, Tomoyuki Ogawa and Kentaro Kato
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 413; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030413 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 691
Abstract
Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular parasitic protozoan with a high infection rate in mammals, including humans, and birds. There is no effective vaccine, and treatment relies on antiparasitic drugs. However, existing antiprotozoal drugs have strong side effects and other problems; therefore, new treatment [...] Read more.
Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular parasitic protozoan with a high infection rate in mammals, including humans, and birds. There is no effective vaccine, and treatment relies on antiparasitic drugs. However, existing antiprotozoal drugs have strong side effects and other problems; therefore, new treatment approaches are needed. Metal nanoparticles have attracted increased interest in the biomedical community in recent years because of their extremely high surface area to volume ratio and their unique reactivity that could be exploited for medicinal purposes. Previously, we confirmed the anti-Toxoplasma effects of gold, silver, and platinum nanoparticles, in a growth inhibition test. Here, we asked whether the anti-Toxoplasma effect could be confirmed with less expensive metal nanoparticles, specifically iron oxide nanoparticles (goethite and hematite). To improve the selective action of the nanoparticles, we modified the surface with l-tryptophan as our previous findings showed that the bio-modification of nanoparticles enhances their selectivity against T. gondii. Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis confirmed the successful coating of the iron oxide nanoparticles with l-tryptophan. Subsequently, cytotoxicity and growth inhibition assays were performed. L-tryptophan-modified nanoparticles showed superior anti-Toxoplasma action compared to their naked nanoparticle counterparts. L-tryptophan enhanced the selective toxicity of the iron oxide nanoparticles toward T. gondii. The bio-modified nanoparticles did not exhibit detectable host cell toxicity in the effective anti-Toxoplasma doses. To elucidate whether reactive oxygen species contribute to the anti-Toxoplasma action of the bio-modified nanoparticles, we added Trolox antioxidant to the assay medium and found that Trolox appreciably reduced the nanoparticle-induced growth inhibition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anti-parasitic Applications of Nanoparticles)
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20 pages, 3201 KiB  
Article
Natural Stabilizers and Nanostructured Lipid Carrier Entrapment for Photosensitive Compounds, Curcumin and Capsaicin
by Wipanan Jandang, Chadarat Ampasavate and Kanokwan Kiattisin
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 412; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030412 - 17 Mar 2024
Viewed by 764
Abstract
Capsaicin and curcumin, the active components of chili and turmeric, are prone to instability when exposed to light. Therefore, this research aimed to enhance the photostability of both extracts via the use of antioxidants, natural sunscreen, and nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs). NLCs were [...] Read more.
Capsaicin and curcumin, the active components of chili and turmeric, are prone to instability when exposed to light. Therefore, this research aimed to enhance the photostability of both extracts via the use of antioxidants, natural sunscreen, and nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs). NLCs were chosen for this this study due to their advantages in terms of stability, drug loading capacity, occlusive effect, skin penetration, and controlled release. The photostability of each extract and extracts mixed with antioxidants, including grape seed extract, tea extract, and chlorogenic acid, were determined. Chlorogenic acid can enhance the photostability of capsaicin from 6.79 h to 16.50 h, while the photostability of curcumin increased from 9.63 h to 19.25 h. In addition, the use of natural sunscreen (sunflower oil) also increased the photostability of capsaicin and curcumin. The mixed extracts were then loaded into NLCs. The particle size of the formulation was 153.73 nm with a PDI value of 0.25. It exhibited high entrapment efficiency (more than 95%). In addition, it effectively reduced the decomposition of capsaicin and curcumin. Importantly, the natural stabilizers chosen for NLC fabrication significantly improved the photostability of curcumin and capsaicin by 600% and 567% compared to the unstabilized counterparts. This improvement contributes to the sustainability and bioavailability of these compounds in both cosmeceutical and pharmaceutical products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmaceutical Solids: Advanced Manufacturing and Characterization)
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26 pages, 1983 KiB  
Review
Fundamentals and Applications of Focused Ultrasound-Assisted Cancer Immune Checkpoint Inhibition for Solid Tumors
by Sepideh Jahangiri and François Yu
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 411; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030411 - 16 Mar 2024
Viewed by 995
Abstract
Despite spectacular clinical successes across several cancer types, immune checkpoint inhibition is effective only in subgroups of patients and suffers from significant systemic toxicities, highlighting the need to understand and locally overcome the mechanisms of therapeutic resistance. Similarly to other therapeutics, immunotherapies face [...] Read more.
Despite spectacular clinical successes across several cancer types, immune checkpoint inhibition is effective only in subgroups of patients and suffers from significant systemic toxicities, highlighting the need to understand and locally overcome the mechanisms of therapeutic resistance. Similarly to other therapeutics, immunotherapies face delivery challenges (for example, antibodies need to reach their targets) and immunological barriers that are unique to solid tumors and their microenvironment. Interestingly, focused ultrasound (FUS), with or without microbubbles, which has been shown to enhance gene and drug delivery, notably in oncology, has been recently found to trigger immunological responses. In recent years, there has been a strong emphasis on understanding the biological and immunological effects of FUS for cancer therapy, and FUS is now emerging as an approach that can improve cancer immunotherapy. We herein review: (1) the immunological barriers implicated in ICI resistance; (2) the fundamentals of FUS +/− MB and the current knowledge on leveraging FUS +/− MB bioeffects for improving ICI therapy efficacy; (3) the immune profile of tumor models that have been successfully treated with FUS and ICI; and finally, (4) we discuss the challenges ahead for translating FUS and MB treatments to the clinic, highlighting the exciting perspectives for this new research area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cavitation-Enhanced Drug Delivery and Immunotherapy, 2nd Edition)
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18 pages, 1449 KiB  
Review
Role of Biofunctionalized Nanoparticles in Digestive Cancer Vaccine Development
by Razvan Zdrehus, Cristian Delcea and Lucian Mocan
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 410; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030410 - 16 Mar 2024
Viewed by 850
Abstract
Nanotechnology has provided an opportunity for unparalleled development of the treatment of various severe diseases. The unique properties of nanoparticles offer a promising strategy for enhancing antitumor immunity by enhancing immunogenicity and presentation of tumor autoantigens for cancer immunotherapy. Polymeric, liposomal, carbon or [...] Read more.
Nanotechnology has provided an opportunity for unparalleled development of the treatment of various severe diseases. The unique properties of nanoparticles offer a promising strategy for enhancing antitumor immunity by enhancing immunogenicity and presentation of tumor autoantigens for cancer immunotherapy. Polymeric, liposomal, carbon or silica-based nanoparticles are among those with major immunomodulatory roles in various cancer treatments. Cancer vaccines, in particular digestive cancer vaccines, have been researched and developed on nanotechnological platforms. Due to their safety, controlled release, targeting of dendritic cells (DCs) and improved antigen uptake, as well as enhanced immunogenicity, nanoparticles have been used as carriers, as adjuvants for increased effect at the tumor level, for their immunomodulating effect, or for targeting the tumor microenvironment, thereby increasing tumor immunogenicity and reducing tumor inflammatory response. This review looks at digestive cancer vaccines developed on nanoparticle platforms and the impact nanoparticles have on the effects of these vaccines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functionalized Nanoparticles in Cancer Therapeutics, 2nd Edition)
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25 pages, 1517 KiB  
Article
Effects of Combined Treatment with Sodium Dichloroacetate and Sodium Valproate on the Genes in Inflammation- and Immune-Related Pathways in T Lymphocytes from Patients with SARS-CoV-2 Infection with Pneumonia: Sex-Related Differences
by Donatas Stakišaitis, Linas Kapočius, Vacis Tatarūnas, Dovydas Gečys, Auksė Mickienė, Tomas Tamošuitis, Rasa Ugenskienė, Arūnas Vaitkevičius, Ingrida Balnytė and Vaiva Lesauskaitė
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 409; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030409 - 16 Mar 2024
Viewed by 785
Abstract
The study presents data on the anti-inflammatory effects of a combination of sodium dichloroacetate and sodium valproate (DCA–VPA) on the expression of inflammation- and immune response-related genes in T lymphocytes of SARS-CoV-2 patients. The study aimed to assess the effects of DCA–VPA on [...] Read more.
The study presents data on the anti-inflammatory effects of a combination of sodium dichloroacetate and sodium valproate (DCA–VPA) on the expression of inflammation- and immune response-related genes in T lymphocytes of SARS-CoV-2 patients. The study aimed to assess the effects of DCA–VPA on the genes of cytokine activity, chemokine-mediated signaling, neutrophil chemotaxis, lymphocyte chemotaxis, T-cell chemotaxis, and regulation of T-cell proliferation pathways. The study included 21 patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection and pneumonia: 9 male patients with a mean age of 68.44 ± 15.32 years and 12 female patients with a mean age of 65.42 ± 15.74 years. They were hospitalized between December 2022 and March 2023. At the time of testing, over 90% of sequences analyzed in Lithuania were found to be of the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2. The T lymphocytes from patients were treated with 5 mmol DCA and 2 mmol VPA for 24 h in vitro. The effect of the DCA–VPA treatment on gene expression in T lymphocytes was analyzed via gene sequencing. The study shows that DCA–VPA has significant anti-inflammatory effects and apparent sex-related differences. The effect is more potent in T cells from male patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection and pneumonia than in females. Full article
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18 pages, 3548 KiB  
Article
Revolutionizing Three-Dimensional Printing: Enhancing Quality Assurance and Point-of-Care Integration through Instrumentation
by Javier Suárez-González, Eduardo Díaz-Torres, Cecilia N. Monzón-Rodríguez, Ana Santoveña-Estévez and José B. Fariña
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 408; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030408 - 16 Mar 2024
Viewed by 808
Abstract
Three-dimensional printing in the field of additive manufacturing shows potential for customized medicines and solving gaps in paediatric formulations. Despite successful clinical trials, 3D printing use in pharmaceutical point-of-care is limited by regulatory loopholes and a lack of Pharmacopoeia guidelines to ensure quality. [...] Read more.
Three-dimensional printing in the field of additive manufacturing shows potential for customized medicines and solving gaps in paediatric formulations. Despite successful clinical trials, 3D printing use in pharmaceutical point-of-care is limited by regulatory loopholes and a lack of Pharmacopoeia guidelines to ensure quality. Semi-solid extrusion is a 3D printing technology that stands out for its versatility, but understanding the fluid dynamics of the semi-solid mass is critical. The aim of this research is to look into the advantages of instrumenting a 3D printer with a semi-solid extrusion motor-driven printhead, which is able to record the printing pressure over time, for in situ characterization of the semi-solid mass and quality evaluation of dosage forms. Four formulations using hydrochlorothiazide as the active pharmaceutical ingredient and several excipients were used. Their flow properties were studied at different printing speeds and temperatures using traditional techniques (rheometer and Texture Analyzer) and the proposed semi-solid extrusion motor-driven printhead incorporated into a printing platform. In addition, the influence of printing speed in the printing process was also evaluated by the study of printing pressure and printlet quality. The results demonstrated the similarities between the use of a Texture Analyzer and the semi-solid extrusion motor-driven. However, the latter enables temperature selection and printing speed in accordance with the printing process which are critical printing parameters. In addition, due to the incorporation of a sensor, it was possible to conclude, for the first time, that there is a link between changes in essential printing parameters like printing speed or formulations and variations in printing pressure and printlet quality attributes such as the energy require to obtain a single dosage unit, weight or diameter. This breakthrough holds a lot of potential for assuring the quality of 3D printing dosage forms and paving the way for their future incorporation into point-of-care settings. Full article
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21 pages, 1305 KiB  
Review
Nanomedicine for the Treatment of Viral Diseases: Smaller Solution to Bigger Problems
by Suvankar Ghorai, Harshita Shand, Soumendu Patra, Kingshuk Panda, Maria J. Santiago, Md. Sohanur Rahman, Srinivasan Chinnapaiyan and Hoshang J. Unwalla
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 407; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030407 - 16 Mar 2024
Viewed by 910
Abstract
The continuous evolution of new viruses poses a danger to world health. Rampant outbreaks may advance to pandemic level, often straining financial and medical resources to breaking point. While vaccination remains the gold standard to prevent viral illnesses, these are mostly prophylactic and [...] Read more.
The continuous evolution of new viruses poses a danger to world health. Rampant outbreaks may advance to pandemic level, often straining financial and medical resources to breaking point. While vaccination remains the gold standard to prevent viral illnesses, these are mostly prophylactic and offer minimal assistance to those who have already developed viral illnesses. Moreover, the timeline to vaccine development and testing can be extensive, leading to a lapse in controlling the spread of viral infection during pandemics. Antiviral therapeutics can provide a temporary fix to tide over the time lag when vaccines are not available during the commencement of a disease outburst. At times, these medications can have negative side effects that outweigh the benefits, and they are not always effective against newly emerging virus strains. Several limitations with conventional antiviral therapies may be addressed by nanotechnology. By using nano delivery vehicles, for instance, the pharmacokinetic profile of antiviral medications can be significantly improved while decreasing systemic toxicity. The virucidal or virus-neutralizing qualities of other special nanomaterials can be exploited. This review focuses on the recent advancements in nanomedicine against RNA viruses, including nano-vaccines and nano-herbal therapeutics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Nanomedicine and Nanotechnology)
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16 pages, 3571 KiB  
Article
Useful Role of a New Generation of Dexamethasone, Vitamin E and Human Serum Albumin Microparticles in the Prevention of Excitotoxicity Injury in Retinal Ocular Diseases
by Javier Rodríguez Villanueva, Pedro de la Villa, Rocío Herrero-Vanrell, Irene Bravo-Osuna and Manuel Guzmán-Navarro
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(3), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16030406 - 15 Mar 2024
Viewed by 628
Abstract
Excitotoxicity has been linked to the pathogenesis of several serious degenerative ocular diseases. Long-term overactivation of the NMDA receptor by glutamate in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) results in degeneration, apoptosis and loss of function leading to blindness. NMDA receptor antagonists have been proposed [...] Read more.
Excitotoxicity has been linked to the pathogenesis of several serious degenerative ocular diseases. Long-term overactivation of the NMDA receptor by glutamate in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) results in degeneration, apoptosis and loss of function leading to blindness. NMDA receptor antagonists have been proposed as a pharmacological blockage of glutamate excitotoxicity. However, an inhibition of the pathway activated by glutamate receptors has intolerable side effects. An interesting pharmacological alternative would be the use of antiapoptotic compounds as RGCs’ neuroprotective active substances. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain neuroprotection, including anti-inflammatory and scavenging activities. Here, the role of dexamethasone in neuroprotection was studied. For this purpose, original controlled release systems composed of microparticles containing dexamethasone with or without vitamin E and human serum albumin (HSA) were designed. The particles were prepared by the solid-in-oil-in-water (S/O/W) emulsion–evaporation technique. After properly characterization of the particles, they were intravitreally injected into an rat model of acute ocular excitotoxicity injury. The functionality of the retina was determined by electroretinography and RGCs were counted after cell immunohistochemistry. These microparticulate systems showed the ability to maintain normal electroretinal activity and promoted significant protection of RGCs. Through this proof of concept, we demonstrated that dexamethasone could be a useful anti-inflammatory agent to avoid the progression of degenerative ocular diseases. Furthermore, when administered in controlled release systems that provide low concentrations during prolonged periods of time, not only can the patient’s comfort be increased but the cytotoxicity of the drugs can also be avoided. Full article
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