Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have seen limited clinical use as antimicrobial agents, largely due to issues relating to toxicity, short biological half-life, and lack of efficacy against Gram-negative bacteria. However, the development of novel AMP-nanomedicines, i.e., AMPs entrapped in nanoparticles, has the potential to ameliorate these clinical problems. The authors investigated two novel nanomedicines based on AA139, an AMP currently in development for the treatment of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative infections. AA139 was entrapped in polymeric nanoparticles (PNPs) or lipid-core micelles (MCLs). The antimicrobial activity of AA139-PNP and AA139-MCL was determined in vitro The biodistribution and limiting doses of AA139-nanomedicines were determined in uninfected rats via endotracheal aerosolization. The early bacterial killing activity of the AA139-nanomedicines in infected lungs was assessed in a rat model of pneumonia-septicemia caused by extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae In this model, the therapeutic efficacy was determined by once-daily (q24h) administration over 10 days. Both AA139-nanomedicines showed equivalent in vitro antimicrobial activities (similar to free AA139). In uninfected rats, they exhibited longer residence times in the lungs than free AA139 (∼20% longer for AA139-PNP and ∼80% longer for AA139-MCL), as well as reduced toxicity, enabling a higher limiting dose. In rats with pneumonia-septicemia, both AA139-nanomedicines showed significantly improved therapeutic efficacy in terms of an extended rat survival time, although survival of all rats was not achieved. These results demonstrate potential advantages that can be achieved using AMP-nanomedicines. AA139-PNP and AA139-MCL may be promising novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of patients suffering from multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pneumonia-septicemia.

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Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy

van der Weide, H., Cossío, U. (Unai), Gracia, R. (Raquel), Te Welscher, Y.M. (Yvonne M.), ten Kate, M., van der Meijden, A., … Bakker-Woudenberg, I. (2020). Therapeutic Efficacy of Novel Antimicrobial Peptide AA139-Nanomedicines in a Multidrug-Resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae Pneumonia-Septicemia Model in Rats. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 64(9). doi:10.1128/AAC.00517-20