Lipid-polymer hybrid nanoparticles enhance the potency of ampicillin against Enterococcus faecalis in a protozoa infection model
Reference: ACS Infectious Diseases (2021) 7: 1607-1618

Enterococcus faecalis (E. faecalis) biofilms are implicated in endocarditis, urinary tract infections, and biliary tract infections. Coupled with E. faecalis internalisation into host cells, this opportunistic pathogen poses great challenges to conventional antibiotic therapy. The inability of ampicillin (Amp) to eradicate bacteria hidden in biofilms and intracellular niches greatly reduces its efficacy against complicated E. faecalis infections. To enhance the potency of Amp against different forms of E. faecalis infections, Amp was loaded into lipid-polymer hybrid nanoparticles (LPNs), a highly efficient nano delivery platform consisting of a unique combination of DOTAP lipid shell and PLGA polymeric core. The antibacterial activity of these nanoparticles (Amp-LPNs) was investigated in a protozoa infection model, achieving a much higher multiplicity of infection (MOI) compared with studies using animal phagocytes. A significant reduction of total E. faecalis was observed in all groups receiving 250 μg/mL Amp-LPNs compared with groups receiving the same concentration of free Amp during three different interventions, simulating acute and chronic infections and prophylaxis. In early intervention, no viable E. faecalis was observed after 3 h LPNs treatment whereas free Amp did not clear E. faecalis after 24 h treatment. Amp-LPNs also greatly enhanced the antibacterial activity of Amp at late intervention and boosted the survival rate of protozoa approaching 400%, where no viable protozoa were identified in the free Amp groups at the 40 h postinfection treatment time point. Prophylactic effectiveness with Amp-LPNs at a concentration of 250 μg/mL was exhibited in both bacteria elimination and protozoa survival toward subsequent infections. Using protozoa as a surrogate model for animal phagocytes to study high MOI infections, this study suggests that LPN-formulated antibiotics hold the potential to significantly improve the therapeutic outcome in highly complicated bacterial infections.

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