Ankur Sharma, Kalpesh Vaghasiya, Eupa Ray, Pushpa Gupta, Umesh Datta Gupta, Amit Kumar Singh, Rahul Kumar Verma
Growing rates of tuberculosis (TB) superbugs are alarming, which has hampered the progress made to-date to control this infectious disease, and new drug candidates are few. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a major polyphenolic compound from green tea extract, shows powerful efficacy against TB bacteria in in vitro studies. However, the therapeutic efficacy of the molecule is limited due to poor pharmacokinetics and low bioavailability following oral administration. Aiming to improve the treatment outcomes of EGCG therapy, we investigated whether encapsulation and pulmonary delivery of the molecule would allow the direct targeting of the site of infection without compromising the activity. Microencapsulation of EGCG was realized by scalable spray-freeze-drying (SFD) technology, forming free-flowing micrometer-sized microspheres (epigallocatechin-3-gallate-loaded trehalose microspheres, EGCG-t-MS) of trehalose sugar. These porous microspheres exhibited appropriate aerodynamic parameters and high encapsulation efficiencies. In vitro studies demonstrated that EGCG-t-MS exhibited dose- and time-dependent killing of TB bacteria inside mouse macrophages by cellular mechanisms of lysosome acidification and autophagy induction. In a preclinical study on TB-infected Balb/c mice model (4 weeks of infection), we demonstrate that the microencapsulated EGCG, administered 5 days/week for 6 weeks by pulmonary delivery, showed exceptional efficacy compared to oral treatment of free drug. This treatment approach exhibited therapeutic outcomes by resolution of inflammation in the infected lungs and significant reduction (P < 0.05) in bacterial burden (up to ∼2.54 Log10 CFU) compared to untreated control and orally treated mice groups. No pathological granulomas, lesions, and inflammation were observed in the histopathological investigation, compared to untreated controls. The encouraging results of the study may pave the avenues for future use of EGCG in TB therapeutics by targeted pulmonary delivery and lead to its translational success.
tuberculosis, epigallocatechin gallate, trehalose microspheres, pulmonary drug delivery, autophagy