VINNER, G.K. ...et al., 2017. Microencapsulation of Clostridium difficile specific bacteriophages using microfluidic glass capillary devices for colon delivery using pH triggered release. PLoS ONE, 12(10): e0186239.
The prevalence of pathogenic bacteria acquiring multidrug antibiotic resistance is a global health threat to mankind. This has motivated a renewed interest in developing alternatives to conventional antibiotics including bacteriophages (viruses) as therapeutic agents. The bacterium Clostridium difficile causes colon infection and is particularly difficult to treat with existing antibiotics; phage therapy may offer a viable alternative. The punitive environment
within the gastrointestinal tract can inactivate orally delivered phages. C. difficile specific
bacteriophage, myovirus CDKM9 was encapsulated in a pH responsive polymer (Eudragit® S100 with and without alginate) using a flow focussing glass microcapillary device. Highly monodispersed core-shell microparticles containing phages trapped within the particle core were produced by in situ polymer curing using 4-aminobenzoic acid dissolved in the oil phase. The size of the generated microparticles could be precisely controlled in the range 80 μm to 160 μm through design of the microfluidic device geometry and by varying flow rates of the dispersed and continuous phase. In contrast to free `naked' phages, those encapsulated within the microparticles could withstand a 3 h exposure to simulated gastric fluid at pH 2 and then underwent a subsequent pH triggered burst release at pH 7. The significance
of our research is in demonstrating that C. difficile specific phage can be formulated
and encapsulated in highly uniform pH responsive microparticles using a microfluidic
system. The microparticles were shown to afford significant protection to the encapsulated phage upon prolonged exposure to an acid solution mimicking the human stomach environment. Phage encapsulation and subsequent release kinetics revealed that the microparticles prepared using Eudragit® S100 formulations possess pH responsive characteristics with phage release triggered in an intestinal pH range suitable for therapeutic purposes. The results reported here provide proof-of-concept data supporting the suitability of our approach for colon targeted delivery of phages for therapeutic purposes.
This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Plos under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
The authors would like to acknowledge EPSRC
support for this work (Grant no. EP/M027341/1) Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance: An Interdisciplinary Approach