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  1. Cheah HY, Gallon E, Dumoulin F, Hoe SZ, Japundžić-Žigon N, Glumac S, et al.
    Mol Pharm, 2018 07 02;15(7):2594-2605.
    PMID: 29763568 DOI: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.8b00132
    We previously developed a new zinc(II) phthalocyanine (ZnPc) derivative (Pc 1) conjugated to poly-L-glutamic acid (PGA) (1-PG) to address the limitations of ZnPc as part of an antitumor photodynamic therapy approach, which include hydrophobicity, phototoxicity, and nonselectivity in biodistribution and tumor targeting. During this study, we discovered that 1-PG possessed high near-infrared (NIR) light absorptivity (λmax = 675 nm), good singlet oxygen generation efficiency in an aqueous environment, and enhanced photocytotoxic efficacy and cancer cell uptake in vitro. In the current study, we discovered that 1-PG accumulated in 4T1 mouse mammary tumors, with a retention time of up to 48 h. Furthermore, as part of an antitumor PDT, low dose 1-PG (2 mg of Pc 1 equivalent/kg) induced a greater tumor volume reduction (-74 ± 5%) when compared to high dose ZnPc (8 mg/kg, -50 ± 12%). At higher treatment doses (8 mg of Pc 1 equivalent/kg), 1-PG reduced tumor volume maximally (-91 ± 6%) and suppressed tumor size to a minimal level for up to 15 days. The kidney, liver, and lungs of the mice treated with 1-PG (both low and high doses) were free from 4T1 tumor metastasis at the end of the study. Telemetry-spectral-echocardiography studies also revealed that PGA (65 mg/kg) produced insignificant changes to the cardiovascular physiology of Wistar-Kyoto rats when administered in vivo. Results indicate that PGA displays an excellent cardiovascular safety profile, underlining its suitability for application as a nanodrug carrier in vivo. These current findings indicate the potential of 1-PG as a useful photosensitizer candidate for clinical PDT.
  2. Goh CF, Moffat JG, Craig DQM, Hadgraft J, Lane ME
    Mol Pharm, 2019 01 07;16(1):359-370.
    PMID: 30525649 DOI: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.8b01027
    Drug crystallization on and in the skin has been reported following application of topical or transdermal formulations. This study explored novel probe-based approaches including localized nanothermal analysis (nano-TA) and photothermal microspectroscopy (PTMS) to investigate and locate drug crystals in the stratum corneum (SC) of porcine skin following application of simple ibuprofen (IBU) formulations. We also conducted in vitro skin permeation studies and tape stripping. The detection of drug crystals in the SC on tape strips was confirmed using localized nano-TA, based on the melting temperature of IBU. The melting of IBU was also evident as indicated by a double transition and confirmed the presence of drug crystals in the SC. The single point scans of PTMS on the tape strips allowed collection of the photothermal FTIR spectra of IBU, confirming the existence of drug crystals in the skin. The combined methods also indicated that drug crystallized in the SC at a depth of ∼4-7 μm. Future studies will examine the potential of these techniques to probe crystallization of other commonly used actives in topical and transdermal formulations.
  3. Parumasivam T, Ashhurst AS, Nagalingam G, Britton WJ, Chan HK
    Mol Pharm, 2017 01 03;14(1):328-335.
    PMID: 27977216 DOI: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.6b00905
    Rifapentine is an anti-tuberculosis (anti-TB) drug with a prolonged half-life, but oral delivery results in low concentrations in the lungs because of its high binding (98%) to plasma proteins. We have shown that inhalation of crystalline rifapentine overcomes the limitations of oral delivery by significantly enhancing and prolonging the drug concentration in the lungs. The delivery of crystalline particles to the lungs may promote inflammation. This in vivo study characterizes the inflammatory response caused by pulmonary deposition of the rifapentine particles. The rifapentine powder was delivered to BALB/c mice by intratracheal insufflation at a dose of 20 mg/kg. The inflammatory response in the lungs and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) was examined at 12 h, 24 h, and 7 days post-treatment by flow cytometry and histopathology. At 12 and 24 h post-treatment, there was a significant influx of neutrophils into the lungs, and this returned to normal by day 7. A significant recruitment of macrophages occurred in the BAL at 24 h. Consistent with these findings, histopathological analysis demonstrated pulmonary vascular congestion and significant macrophage recruitment at 12 and 24 h post-treatment. In conclusion, the pulmonary delivery of crystalline rifapentine caused a transient neutrophil-associated inflammatory response in the lungs that resolved over 7 days. This observation may limit pulmonary delivery of rifapentine to once a week at a dose of 20 mg/kg or less. The effectiveness of weekly dosing with inhalable rifapentine will be assessed in murine Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection.
  4. Chowdhury MR, Moshikur RM, Wakabayashi R, Tahara Y, Kamiya N, Moniruzzaman M, et al.
    Mol Pharm, 2018 06 04;15(6):2484-2488.
    PMID: 29762034 DOI: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.8b00305
    Paclitaxel (PTX) injection (i.e., Taxol) has been used as an effective chemotherapeutic treatment for various cancers. However, the current Taxol formulation contains Cremophor EL, which causes hypersensitivity reactions during intravenous administration and precipitation by aqueous dilution. This communication reports the preliminary results on the ionic liquid (IL)-based PTX formulations developed to address the aforementioned issues. The formulations were composed of PTX/cholinium amino acid ILs/ethanol/Tween-80/water. A significant enhancement in the solubility of PTX was observed with considerable correlation with the density and viscosity of the ILs, and with the side chain of the amino acids used as anions in the ILs. Moreover, the formulations were stable for up to 3 months. The driving force for the stability of the formulation was hypothesized to be the involvement of different types of interactions between the IL and PTX. In vitro cytotoxicity and antitumor activity of the IL-based formulations were evaluated on HeLa cells. The IL vehicles without PTX were found to be less cytotoxic than Taxol, while both the IL-based PTX formulation and Taxol exhibited similar antitumor activity. Finally, in vitro hypersensitivity reactions were evaluated on THP-1 cells and found to be significantly lower with the IL-based formulation than Taxol. This study demonstrated that specially designed ILs could provide a potentially safer alternative to Cremophor EL as an effective PTX formulation for cancer treatment giving fewer hypersensitivity reactions.
  5. Kue CS, Kamkaew A, Lee HB, Chung LY, Kiew LV, Burgess K
    Mol Pharm, 2015 Jan 5;12(1):212-22.
    PMID: 25487316 DOI: 10.1021/mp5005564
    This contribution features a small molecule that binds TrkC (tropomyosin receptor kinase C) receptor that tends to be overexpressed in metastatic breast cancer cells but not in other breast cancer cells. A sensitizer for (1)O2 production conjugated to this structure gives 1-PDT for photodynamic therapy. Isomeric 2-PDT does not bind TrkC and was used as a control throughout; similarly, TrkC- cancer cells were used to calibrate enhanced killing of TrkC+ cells. Ex vivo, 1- and 2-PDT where only cytotoxic when illuminated, and 1-PDT, gave higher cell death for TrkC+ breast cancer cells. A 1 h administration-to-illumination delay gave optimal TrkC+/TrkC--photocytotoxicity, and distribution studies showed the same delay was appropriate in vivo. In Balb/c mice, a maximum tolerated dose of 20 mg/kg was determined for 1-PDT. 1- and 2-PDT (single, 2 or 10 mg/kg doses and one illumination, throughout) had similar effects on implanted TrkC- tumors, and like those of 2-PDT on TrkC+ tumors. In contrast, 1-PDT caused dramatic TrkC+ tumor volume reduction (96% from initial) relative to the TrkC- tumors or 2-PDT in TrkC+ models. Moreover, 71% of the mice treated with 10 mg/kg 1-PDT (n = 7) showed full tumor remission and survived until 90 days with no metastasis to key organs.
  6. Ahmad N, Amin MC, Mahali SM, Ismail I, Chuang VT
    Mol Pharm, 2014 Nov 3;11(11):4130-42.
    PMID: 25252107 DOI: 10.1021/mp5003015
    Stimuli-responsive bacterial cellulose-g-poly(acrylic acid) hydrogels were investigated for their potential use as an oral delivery system for proteins. These hydrogels were synthesized using electron beam irradiation without any cross-linking agents, thereby eliminating any potential toxic effects associated with cross-linkers. Bovine serum albumin (BSA), a model protein drug, was loaded into the hydrogels, and the release profile in simulated gastrointestinal fluids was investigated. Cumulative release of less than 10% in simulated gastric fluid (SGF) demonstrated the potential of these hydrogels to protect BSA from the acidic environment of the stomach. Subsequent conformational stability analyses of released BSA by SDS-PAGE, circular dichroism, and an esterase activity assay indicated that the structural integrity and bioactivity of BSA was maintained and preserved by the hydrogels. Furthermore, an increase in BSA penetration across intestinal mucosa tissue was observed in an ex vivo penetration experiment. Our fabricated hydrogels exhibited excellent cytocompatibility and showed no sign of toxicity, indicating the safety of these hydrogels for in vivo applications.
  7. Pandey M, Mohamad N, Amin MC
    Mol Pharm, 2014 Oct 6;11(10):3596-608.
    PMID: 25157890 DOI: 10.1021/mp500337r
    The objective of this study is to synthesize and evaluate acute toxicity of the bacterial cellulose (BC)/acrylamide (Am) hydrogels as noncytotoxic and biocompatible oral drug delivery vehicles. A novel series of solubilized BC/Am hydrogels were synthesized using a microwave irradiation method. The hydrogels were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), swelling ratio, porosity, drug release, and in vitro and in vivo biocompatibility experiments. FTIR spectra revealed that the BC crystallinity and gel fraction decreased as the NaOH concentration increased from 2% to 10% w/v, whereas the optical transparency, pH sensitivity, and porosity were enhanced with increasing alkali concentration. Theophylline was used as a model drug for drug loading and release studies. The percentage of drug released was higher at pH 7.4 compared to pH 1.5. In vitro cytotoxicity and hemolytic tests indicated that the BC/Am hydrogel is noncytotoxic and hemocompatible. Results of acute oral toxicity tests on ICR mice suggested that the hydrogels are nontoxic up to 2000 mg/kg when administered orally, as no toxic response or histopathological changes were observed in comparison to control mice. The results of this study demonstrated that the pH-sensitive smart hydrogel makes it a possible safe carrier for oral drug delivery.
  8. Lim SH, Yam ML, Lam ML, Kamarulzaman FA, Samat N, Kiew LV, et al.
    Mol Pharm, 2014 Sep 2;11(9):3164-73.
    PMID: 25077598 DOI: 10.1021/mp500351s
    This study aims to improve the photodynamic properties and biological effectiveness of 15(1)-hydroxypurpurin-7-lactone dimethyl ester (G2), a semisynthetic photosensitizer, for the PDT treatment of cancer. The strategy we undertook was by conjugating G2 with aspartic acid and lysine amino acid moieties. The photophysical properties, singlet oxygen generation, distribution coefficiency (Log D in octanol/PBS pH 7.4), and photostability of these analogues and their in vitro bioactivities such as cellular uptake, intracellular localization, and photoinduced cytotoxicity were evaluated. In addition, selected analogues were also investigated for their PDT-induced vasculature occlusion in the chick chorioallantoic membrane model and for their antitumor efficacies in Balb/C mice bearing 4T1 mouse mammary tumor. From the study, conjugation with aspartic acid improved the aqueous solubility of G2 without affecting its photophysical characteristics. G2-Asp showed similar in vitro and in vivo antitumor efficacies compared to the parent compound. Given the hydrophilic nature of G2-Asp, the photosensitizer is a pharmaceutically advantageous candidate as it can be formulated easily for systemic administration and has reduced risk of aggregation in vascular system.
  9. Lee KW, Tey BT, Ho KL, Tejo BA, Tan WS
    Mol Pharm, 2012 Sep 4;9(9):2415-23.
    PMID: 22775561 DOI: 10.1021/mp200389t
    Cell-internalizing peptides (CIPs) can be used to mediate specific delivery of nanoparticles across cellular membrane. The objective of this study was to develop a display technique using hepatitis B virus (HBV) capsid-binding peptide as a "nanoglue" to present CIPs on HBV nanoparticles for cell-targeting delivery. A CIP was selected from a phage display library and cross-linked specifically at the tips of the spikes of the HBV capsid nanoparticle via the "nanoglue" by using 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC) and N-hydroxysulfosuccinimide (sulfo-NHS). Fluorescent oligonucleotides packaged in the nanoparticles and the fluorescein molecules conjugated on the nanoparticles were delivered to cells by using this display technique. This study demonstrated a proof of principle for cell-targeting delivery via "nanoglue" bioconjugation.
  10. Butt AM, Amin MC, Katas H, Abdul Murad NA, Jamal R, Kesharwani P
    Mol Pharm, 2016 12 05;13(12):4179-4190.
    PMID: 27934479
    This study investigated the potential of chitosan-coated mixed micellar nanocarriers (polyplexes) for codelivery of siRNA and doxorubicin (DOX). DOX-loaded mixed micelles (serving as cores) were prepared by thin film hydration method and coated with chitosan (CS, serving as outer shell), and complexed with multidrug resistance (MDR) inhibiting siRNA. Selective targeting was achieved by folic acid conjugation. The polyplexes showed pH-responsive enhanced DOX release in acidic tumor pH, resulting in higher intracellular accumulation, which was further augmented by downregulation of mdr-1 gene after treatment with siRNA-complexed polyplexes. In vitro cytotoxicity assay demonstrated an enhanced cytotoxicity in native 4T1 and multidrug-resistant 4T1-mdr cell lines, compared to free DOX. Furthermore, in vivo, polyplexes codelivery resulted in highest DOX accumulation and significantly reduced the tumor volume in mice with 4T1 and 4T1-mdr tumors as compared to the free DOX groups, leading to improved survival times in mice. In conclusion, codelivery of siRNA and DOX via polyplexes has excellent potential as targeted drug nanocarriers for treatment of MDR cancers.
  11. Chen XY, Butt AM, Mohd Amin MCI
    Mol Pharm, 2019 09 03;16(9):3853-3872.
    PMID: 31398038 DOI: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.9b00483
    The development of oral vaccine formulation is crucial to facilitate an effective mass immunization program for various vaccine-preventable diseases. In this work, the efficacy of hepatitis B antigen delivered by bacterial nanocellulose/poly(acrylic acid) composite hydrogel microparticles (MPs) as oral vaccine carriers was assessed to induce both local and systemic immunity. Optimal pH-responsive swelling, mucoadhesiveness, protein drug loading, and drug permeability were characterized by MPs formulated with minimal irradiation doses and acrylic acid concentration. The composite hydrogel materials of bacterial nanocellulose and poly(acrylic acid) showed significantly greater antigen release in simulated intestinal fluid while ensuring the integrity of antigen. In in vivo study, mice orally vaccinated with antigen-loaded hydrogel MPs showed enhanced vaccine immunogenicity with significantly higher secretion of mucosal immunoglobulin A, compared to intramuscular vaccinated control. The splenocytes from the same group demonstrated lymphoproliferation and significant increased secretion of interleukin-2 cytokines upon stimulation with hepatitis B antigen. Expression of CD69 in CD4+ T lymphocytes and CD19+ B lymphocytes in splenocytes from mice orally vaccinated with antigen-loaded hydrogel MPs was comparable to that of the intramuscular vaccinated control, indicating early activation of lymphocytes elicited by our oral vaccine formulation in just two doses. These results demonstrated the potential of antigen-loaded hydrogel MPs as an oral vaccination method for hepatitis B.
  12. Amjad MW, Amin MC, Katas H, Butt AM, Kesharwani P, Iyer AK
    Mol Pharm, 2015 Dec 7;12(12):4247-58.
    PMID: 26567518 DOI: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.5b00827
    Multidrug resistance poses a great challenge to cancer treatment. In order to improve the targeting and codelivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) and doxorubicin, and to overcome multidrug resistance, we conjugated a cholic acid-polyethylenimine polymer with folic acid, forming CA-PEI-FA micelles. CA-PEI-FA exhibited a low critical micelle concentration (80 μM), small average particle size (150 nm), and positive zeta potential (+ 12 mV). They showed high entrapment efficiency for doxorubicin (61.2 ± 1.7%, w/w), forming D-CA-PEI-FA, and for siRNA, forming D-CA-PEI-FA-S. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopic analysis revealed the presence of external FA on D-CA-PEI-FA micelles. About 25% doxorubicin was released within 24 h at pH 7.4, while more than 30% release was observed at pH 5. The presence of FA enhanced micelle antitumor activity. The D-CA-PEI-FA and D-CA-PEI-FA-S micelles inhibited tumor growth in vivo. No significant differences between their in vitro cytotoxic activities or their in vivo antitumor effects were observed, indicating that the siRNA coloading did not significantly increase the antitumor activity. Histological analysis revealed that tumor tissues from mice treated with D-CA-PEI-FA or D-CA-PEI-FA-S showed the lowest cancer cell density and the highest levels of apoptosis and necrosis. Similarly, the livers of these mice exhibited the lowest level of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase among all treated groups. The lowest serum vascular endothelial growth factor level (VEGF) (24.4 pg/mL) was observed in mice treated with D-CA-PEI-FA-S micelles using siRNA targeting VEGF. These findings indicated that the developed CA-PEI-FA nanoconjugate has the potential to achieve targeted codelivery of drugs and siRNA.
  13. Moshikur RM, Ali MK, Wakabayashi R, Moniruzzaman M, Goto M
    Mol Pharm, 2021 08 02;18(8):3108-3115.
    PMID: 34250805 DOI: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.1c00324
    Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread across the world, and no specific antiviral drugs have yet been approved to combat this disease. Favipiravir (FAV) is an antiviral drug that is currently in clinical trials for use against COVID-19. However, the delivery of FAV is challenging because of its limited solubility, and its formulation is difficult with common organic solvents and water. To address these issues, four FAV ionic liquids (FAV-ILs) were synthesized as potent antiviral prodrugs and were fully characterized by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectrometry, powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), derivative thermogravimetry (DTG), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The aqueous solubility and in vivo pharmacokinetic properties of the FAV-ILs were also evaluated. The FAV-ILs exhibited improved aqueous solubility by 78 to 125 orders of magnitude when compared with that of free FAV. Upon oral dosing in mice, the absolute bioavailability of the β-alanine ethyl ester FAV formulation was increased 1.9-fold compared with that of the control FAV formulation. The peak blood concentration, elimination half-life, and mean absorption time of FAV were also increased by 1.5-, 2.0-, and 1.5-fold, respectively, compared with the control. Furthermore, the FAV in the FAV-ILs exhibited significantly different biodistribution compared with the control FAV formulation. Interestingly, drug accumulation in the lungs and liver was improved 1.5-fold and 1.3-fold, respectively, compared with the control FAV formulation. These results indicate that the use of ILs exhibits potential as a simple, scalable strategy to improve the solubility and oral absorption of hydrophobic drugs, such as FAV.
  14. Darvishi B, Dinarvand R, Mohammadpour H, Kamarul T, Sharifi AM
    Mol Pharm, 2021 09 06;18(9):3302-3325.
    PMID: 34297586 DOI: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.1c00248
    Microvascular complications are among the major outcomes of patients with type II diabetes mellitus, which are the consequences of impaired physiological functioning of small blood vessels and angiogenic responses in these patients. Overproduction and accumulation of methylglyoxal (MGO), a highly reactive dicarbonyl byproduct of glycolysis pathway, has been acclaimed as the main inducer of impaired angiogenic responses and microvascular dysfunction in diabetic patients with uncontrolled hyperglycemia. Hence, an effective approach to overcome diabetes-associated microvascular complications is to neutralize the deleterious activity of enhanced the concentration of MGO in the body. Owing to the glycation inhibitory activity of Aloe vera whole extract, and capability of l-carnosine, an endogenous dipeptide, in attenuating MGO's destructive activity, we examined whether application of a combination of l-carnosine and A. vera could be an effective way of synergistically weakening this reactive dicarbonyl's impaired angiogenic effects. Additionally, overcoming the poor cellular uptake and internalization of l-carnosine and A. vera, a nanophytosomal formulation of the physical mixture of two compounds was also established. Although l-carnosine and A. vera at whole studied combination ratios could synergistically enhance viability of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) treated with MGO, the 25:1 w/w ratio was the most effective one among the others (27 ± 0.5% compared to 12 ± 0.3 to 18 ± 0.4%; F (4, 15) = 183.9, P < 0.0001). Developing dual nanophytosomes of l-carnosine/A. vera (25:1) combination ratio, we demonstrated superiority of the nanophytosomal formulation in protecting HUVECs against MGO-induced toxicity following a 24-72 h incubation period (17.3, 15.8, and 12.4% respectively). Moreover, 500 μg/mL concentration of dual l-carnosine/A. vera nanophytosomes exhibited a superior free radical scavenging potency (63 ± 4 RFU vs 83 ± 5 RFU; F (5, 12) = 54.81, P < 0.0001) and nitric oxide synthesizing capacity (26.11 ± 0.19 vs 5.1 ± 0.33; F (5, 12) = 2537, P < 0.0001) compared to their physical combination counterpart. Similarly, 500 μg/mL dual l-carnosine/A. vera nanophytosome-treated HUVECs demonstrated a superior tube formation capacity (15 ± 3 vs 2 ± 0.3; F (5, 12) = 30.87, P < 0.001), wound scratch healing capability (4.92 ± 0.3 vs 3.07 ± 0.3 mm/h; F (5, 12) = 39.21, P < 0.0001), and transwell migration (586 ± 32 vs 394 ± 18; F (5, 12) = 231.8, P < 0.001) and invasion (172 ± 9 vs 115 ± 5; F (5, 12) = 581.1, P < 0.0001) activities compared to the physical combination treated ones. Further confirming the proangiogenic activity of the dual l-carnosine/A. vera nanophytosomes, a significant shift toward expression of proangiogenic genes including HIF-1α, VEGFA, bFGF, KDR, and Ang II was reported in treated HUVECs. Overall, dual l-carnosine/A. vera nanophytosomes could be a potential candidate for attenuating type II DM-associated microvascular complications with an impaired angiogenesis background.
  15. Suleman Ismail Abdalla S, Katas H, Chan JY, Ganasan P, Azmi F, Fauzi MB
    Mol Pharm, 2021 05 03;18(5):1956-1969.
    PMID: 33822631 DOI: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.0c01033
    Gelatin hydrogels are attractive for wound applications owing to their well-defined structural, physical, and chemical properties as well as good cell adhesion and biocompatibility. This study aimed to develop gelatin hydrogels incorporated with bio-nanosilver functionalized with lactoferrin (Ag-LTF) as a dual-antimicrobial action dressing, to be used in treating infected wounds. The hydrogels were cross-linked using genipin prior to loading with Ag-LTF and characterized for their physical and swelling properties, rheology, polymer and actives interactions, and in vitro release of the actives. The hydrogel's anti-biofilm and antibacterial performances against S. aureus and P. aeruginosa as well as their cytotoxicity effects were assessed in vitro, including primary wound healing gene expression of human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs). The formulated hydrogels showed adequate release of AgNPs and LTF, with promising antimicrobial effects against both bacterial strains. The Ag-LTF-loaded hydrogel did not significantly interfere with the normal cellular functions as no alteration was detected for cell viability, migration rate, and expression of the target genes, suggesting the nontoxicity of Ag-LTF as well as the hydrogels. In conclusion, Ag-LTF-loaded genipin-cross-linked gelatin hydrogel was successfully synthesized as a new approach for fighting biofilms in infected wounds, which may be applied to accelerate healing of chronic wounds.
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