Repository logo

Innovative self-assembling nanodelivery systems to combat bacterial infections.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The rising surge of bacterial resistance puts an immense economic and social strain on the healthcare system worldwide. Unfortunately, the production of new antibiotics is significantly outstripped by existing therapies that are losing their effectiveness. Limitations associated with conventional dosage forms are one of the main contributing factors for increasing antimicrobial resistance. Novel nano-drug delivery systems have immense potential for overcoming antimicrobial resistance. This study broadly aimed to design advanced materials and explore nano-based strategies for preparation of self-assembling delivery systems to combat Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. In this study, three novel self-assembling systems; supramolecular amphiphilic Beta-cyclodextrin and Oleyl amine (BCD-OLA), supramolecular self-assembled drug delivery system (SADDs) for enhancement of vancomycin (VCM) delivery, and self-assembling PEGylated Fusidic acid (PEG-FA) as a polymer therapeutic were designed, synthesized and employed for the formulation of nanodrug delivery systems for efficient delivery of antibiotics. All the newly synthesized systems were confirmed and characterized by FTIR, DSC, NMR and molecular dynamic (MD) simulations. The synthesized materials and the formulated delivery system were found to be biosafe after exhibiting cell viability above 75% in all human cell lines tested using the MTT assay. The formulated nano-based systems were evaluated for sizes, polydispersity indices (PDI), zeta potential (ZP), surface morphology, drug release, in vitro and in vivo antibacterial activity. The formulated BCD-OLA nanovesicles size was shown to be 119.8 ± 1.12 nm with a PDI of 0.220 ± 3.98, and ZP of 25.8 ± 6.96 mV. The formulated SADDs for VCM delivery displayed a size of 85.15 ± 0.4 nm with PDI of 0.131 ± 0.017 and ZP of -27 ± 1.3 mV. The encapsulation efficiency of VCM in both formulated BCD-OLA and VCM/TS nano-system was 40.2 ± 4.5% and 68.8 ± 2.8%, respectively. The release profile of the encapsulated drug from both systems was found to have sustained release over a 48 h period. The selfassembled PEG-FA conjugate showed an average hydrodynamic diameter of 149.3 ± 0.21 nm with PDI of 0.267 ± 0.012 and ZP of 5.97 ± 1.03 mV. HRTEM images revealed vesicular structure for supramolecular BCD-OLA, and a homogenous spherical morphology for formulated VCM/TS and PEG-FA nanoparticels (NPs). In vitro antibacterial activity for the BCD-OLA nanovesicles, VCM/TS NPs and PEG-FA (NPs) showed enhancement in antibacterial activity by 2- to 4-fold reduction in MIC against S. aureus and MRSA when compared to the bare drug. Further intracellular and macrophage studies showed that VCM- loaded BCD-OLA nanovesicles had an 8- and 459-fold reduction of intracellular bacteria compared to the bare drug, respectively. There was a 9.5-fold reduction in the MRSA load in mice skin treated with VCM/TS NPs in comparison with bare VCM (p = 0.0077). Human serum albumin (HSA) binding studies using in silico molecular docking and Microscale Thermophoresis showed that PEG-FA had very weak or no interaction with HSA (Kd = 14999 µM), which could prevent bilirubin displacement and reduce side effects. In summary, these novel nano-drug delivery systems show potential for improving the treatment of bacterial infections, which will be useful for addressing the crisis of resistant bacteria and declining new antibiotics. The data from this study has resulted in three first-authored international publications.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.