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MDPI, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 3(24), p. 2867, 2023

DOI: 10.3390/ijms24032867



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Physical and Functional Characterization of PLGA Nanoparticles Containing the Antimicrobial Peptide SAAP-148

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Synthetic antimicrobial and antibiofilm peptide (SAAP-148) commits significant antimicrobial activities against antimicrobial resistant (AMR) planktonic bacteria and biofilms. However, SAAP-148 is limited by its low selectivity index, i.e., ratio between cytotoxicity and antimicrobial activity, as well as its bioavailability at infection sites. We hypothesized that formulation of SAAP-148 in PLGA nanoparticles (SAAP-148 NPs) improves the selectivity index due to the sustained local release of the peptide. The aim of this study was to investigate the physical and functional characteristics of SAAP-148 NPs and to compare the selectivity index of the formulated peptide with that of the peptide in solution. SAAP-148 NPs displayed favorable physiochemical properties [size = 94.1 ± 23 nm, polydispersity index (PDI) = 0.08 ± 0.1, surface charge = 1.65 ± 0.1 mV, and encapsulation efficiency (EE) = 86.7 ± 0.3%] and sustained release of peptide for up to 21 days in PBS at 37 °C. The antibacterial and cytotoxicity studies showed that the selectivity index for SAAP-148 NPs was drastically increased, by 10-fold, regarding AMR Staphylococcus aureus and 20-fold regarding AMR Acinetobacter baumannii after 4 h. Interestingly, the antibiofilm activity of SAAP-148 NPs against AMR S. aureus and A. baumannii gradually increased overtime, suggesting a dose–effect relationship based on the peptide’s in vitro release profile. Using 3D human skin equivalents (HSEs), dual drug SAAP-148 NPs and the novel antibiotic halicin NPs provided a stronger antibacterial response against planktonic and cell-associated bacteria than SAAP-148 NPs but not halicin NPs after 24 h. Confocal laser scanning microscopy revealed the presence of SAAP-148 NPs on the top layers of the skin models in close proximity to AMR S. aureus at 24 h. Overall, SAAP-148 NPs present a promising yet challenging approach for further development as treatment against bacterial infections.