Investigating the delivery of antimicrobial proteins and aminoglycoside antibiotics to the airways

  • Wilson Oguejiofor

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Biopharmaceuticals are finding wide applications in the management of diverse disease conditions. Pulmonary delivery of proteins may constitute an effective and efficient non-invasive alternative to parenteral delivery, which is currently the main route of administration of biopharmaceutical drugs. A particular area, in which pulmonary delivery of peptides and proteins may find ready application, is in the local delivery of antimicrobial peptides and proteins to the airway, a measure that could potentially bring about improvements to currently available antipseudomonal therapies.
This thesis has therefore sought to develop inhalable antimicrobial proteins in combination with antibiotics that have particularly good antimicrobial activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in the respiratory tract of people with cystic fibrosis (CF). Through process optimisation, a suitable spray drying method was developed and used for the preparation of active, inhalable dry powder formulations of the antimicrobial protein, lactoferrin, and aminoglycosides (tobramycin and gentamicin). The physicochemical properties, aerosolisation performance and the antibacterial properties of the various spray-dried formulations were assessed. In addition, a relevant in vitro cellular model was employed to investigate the potential cytotoxic and pro-inflammatory effects of the various formulations on four bronchial human epithelial cells together with their effectiveness at reducing bacterial colonies when administered on to biofilm co-cultured on the epithelial cells. It was found that following spray drying the particles obtained were mostly spherical, amorphous and possessed suitable aerosolisation characteristics. The various spray-dried antimicrobial proteins (lactoferrin or apo lactoferrin) and co-spray dried combinations of the proteins and aminoglycosides were found to exhibit bactericidal activity against planktonic and biofilms of P. aeruginosa. In general, the spray drying process was found not to significantly affect the antimicrobial activities of the protein. Treatment of the different bronchial epithelial cell lines with the antimicrobial formulations showed that the various formulations were non-toxic and that the co-spray dried combinations significantly reduced established P. aeruginosa biofilms on the four bronchial epithelial cells. Overall, the results from this thesis demonstrates that spray drying could potentially be employed to prepare inhalable antimicrobial agents comprised of proteins and antibiotics. These new combinations of proteins and aminoglycosides has promising applications in the management of P. aeruginosa in the airway of cystic fibrosis patients.
Date of Award7 Nov 2013
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAndrew J Ingham (Supervisor) & Lindsay J Marshall (Supervisor)


  • antimicrobial protein
  • spray drying
  • psudomonas aeruginosa
  • cystic fibrosis
  • inhalation

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