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Antimicrobial Nanotherapeutics Against Helicobacter pylori Infection /


Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection with its vast prevalence is responsible for various gastric diseases including gastritis, peptic ulcers, and gastric malignancy. While effective, current treatment regimens are challenged by a fast-declining eradication rate due to the increasing emergence of H. pylori strains resistant to existing antibiotics. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop novel antibacterial strategies against H. pylori. The first area of this research, we developed a liposomal nanoformulation of linolenic acid (LipoLLA) and evaluated its bactericidal activity against resistant strains of H. pylori. We found that LipoLLA was effective in killing both spiral and dormant forms of the bacteria via disrupting bacterial membranes. LipoLLA eradicated all strains of the bacteria regardless of their antibiotic resistance status. Furthermore, the bacteria did not develop drug resistance toward LipoLLA. Our findings suggest that LipoLLA is a promising antibacterial nanotherapeutic to treat antibiotic-resistant H. pylori infection. The next step, we investigated the in vivo therapeutic potential of LipoLLA for the treatment of H. pylori infection. In vivo tests further confirmed that LipoLLA was able to kill H. pylori and reduce bacterial load in the mouse stomach. LipoLLA treatment was also shown to reduce the levels of proinflammatory cytokines including interleukin-[beta] (IL-1[beta]), IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha, which were otherwise elevated due to the H. pylori infection. Finally, toxicity test demonstrated excellent biocompatibility of LipoLLA to normal mouse stomach. Collectively, results from this work indicate that LipoLLA is a promising, new, effective, and safe therapeutic agent for the treatment of H. pylori infection. The second area is stimuli-responsive liposomes development. By adsorbing small chitosan-modified gold nanoparticles (AuChi) onto the outer surface of liposomes, we show that at gastric pH the liposomes have excellent stability with limited fusion ability and negligible cargo releases. However when the stabilized liposomes are present in an environment with neutral pH, the gold stabilizers detach from the liposomes resulting in free liposomes that can actively fuse with bacterial membranes. The reported liposome system holds a substantial potential for gastric drug delivery; it remains inactive (stable) in the stomach lumen but actively interact with bacteria once reaches the mucus layer of the stomach where the bacteria may reside. Another stimulus that can activate drug release from liposomes is virulence factor released from bacteria themselves. We formulate liposomes with a lipid composition sensitive to bacterium-secreted phospholipase A₂ (PLA₂) degradation and then adsorb AuChi onto their surfaces. The resulting AuChi-stabilized liposomes (AuChi- liposomes) showed prohibited fusion activity and negligible drug leakage. When loaded with doxycycline, AuChi-liposomes effectively inhibit H. pylori growth in vitro. Overall, the design of AuChi-liposomes allows for a smart "on-demand" payload delivery : the more enzymes or bacteria at the infection site, which depends on the severity of infection, the more drug will be released. Given the strong association of PLA₂ with a diverse range of diseases, the present liposomal delivery technique holds broad application potential for tissue microenvironment-responsive drug delivery

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