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A Fresh Shine on Cystic Fibrosis Inhalation Therapy: Antimicrobial Synergy of Polymyxin B in Combination with Silver Nanoparticles

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This in vitro study aimed to investigate the synergistic antibacterial activity of polymyxin B in combination with 2 nm silver nanoparticles (NPs) against Gram-negative pathogens commonly isolated from the cystic fibrosis (CF) lung. The in vitro synergistic activity of polymyxin B with silver NPs was assessed using the checkerboard assay against polymyxinsusceptible and polymyxin-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from the lungs of CF patients. The combination was also examined against the Gram-negative species Haemophilus influenzae, Burkholderia cepacia, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Acinetobacter baumannii that are less common in the CF lung. The killing kinetics of the polymyxin B-silver NPs combinations was assessed against P. aeruginosa by static time-kill assays over 24 h. Polymyxin B and silver NPs alone were not active against polymyxin-resistant (MIC ≥4 mg/L) P. aeruginosa. Whereas, the combination of a clinically-relevant concentration of polymyxin B (2 mg/L) with silver NPs (4 mg/L) successfully inhibited the growth of polymyxin-resistant P. aeruginosa isolates from CF patients as demonstrated by ≥2 log10 decrease in bacterial count (CFU/mL) after 24 h. Treatment of P. aeruginosa cells with the combination induced cytosolic GFP release and an increase of cellular reactive oxygen species. In the nitrocefin assay, the combination displayed a membrane permeabilizing activity superior to each of the drugs alone. The combination of polymyxin B and silver NPs displays excellent synergistic activity against highly polymyxin-resistant P. aeruginosa and is potentially of considerable clinical utility for the treatment of problematic CF lung infections.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2017

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  • Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology (JBN) is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal providing broad coverage in all research areas focused on the applications of nanotechnology in medicine, drug delivery systems, infectious disease, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, and all other related fields of life sciences.
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