Pulmonary surfactant and drug delivery: Vehiculization of a tryptophan-tagged antimicrobial peptide over the air-liquid interfacial highway

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This work evaluates interaction of pulmonary surfactant (PS) and antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) in order to investigate (i) if PS can be used to transport AMPs, and (ii) to what extent PS interferes with AMP function and vice versa. This, in turn, is motivated by a need to find new strategies to treat bacterial infections in the airways. Low respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) are a leading cause of illness and death worldwide that, together with the problem of multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria, bring to light the necessity of developing effective therapies that ensure high bioavailability of the drug at the site of infection and display a potent antimicrobial effect. Here, we propose the combination of AMPs with PS to improve their delivery, exemplified for the hydrophobically endtagged AMP, GRR10W4 (GRRPRPRPRPWWWW-NH2), with previously demonstrated potent antimicrobial activity against a broad spectrum of bacteria under various conditions. Experiments using model systems emulating the respiratory interface and an operating alveolus, based on surface balances and bubble surfactometry, served to demonstrate that a fluorescently labelled version of GRR10W4 (GRR10W4-F), was able to interact and insert into PS membranes without affecting its biophysical function. Therefore, vehiculization of the peptide along air–liquid interfaces was enabled, even for interfaces previously occupied by surfactants layers. Furthermore, breathing-like compression-expansion dynamics promoted the interfacial release of GRR10W4-F after its delivery, which could further allow the peptide to perform its antimicrobial function. PS/GRR10W4-F formulations displayed greater antimicrobial effects and reduced toxicity on cultured airway epithelial cells compared to that of the peptide alone. Taken together, these results open the door to the development of novel delivery strategies for AMPs in order to increase the bioavailability of these molecules at the infection site via inhaled therapies.
CRUE-CSIC (Acuerdos Transformativos 2022)
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