Inhalable liposomal powder formulations for co-delivery of synergistic ciprofloxacin and colistin against multi-drug resistant gram-negative lung infections

Shihui Yu, Shaoning Wang, Peizhi Zou, Guihong Chai, Yu-Wei Lin, Tony Velkov, Jian Li, Weisan Pan, Qi Tony Zhou

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46 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to design and characterize dry powder inhaler formulations of ciprofloxacin and colistin co-loaded liposomes prepared by the ultrasonic spray-freeze-drying (USFD) technique. Liposomal formulations and powder production parameters were optimized to achieve optimal characteristics and in-vitro performance such as encapsulation efficiency (EE), particle size, particle distribution index (PDI), fine particle fraction (FPF), emitted dose (ED) and in vitro antibacterial activity. The formulation (F6) with the mannitol (5% w/v) as the internal lyoprotectant and sucrose (5%, w/v), mannitol (10%, w/v) and leucine (5%, w/w) as the external lyoprotectants/aerosolization enhancers showed an optimal rehydrated EE values of ciprofloxacin and colistin (44.9 ± 0.9% and 47.0 ± 0.6%, respectively) as well as satisfactory aerosol performance (FPF: 45.8 ± 2.2% and 43.6 ± 1.6%, respectively; ED: 97.0 ± 0.5% and 95.0 ± 0.6%, respectively). For the blank liposomes, there was almost no inhibitory effect on the cell proliferation in human lung epithelial A549 cells, showing that the lipid materials used in the liposome formulation is safe for use in pulmonary drug delivery. The cytotoxicity study demonstrated that the optimized liposomal formulation (F6) was not cytotoxic at least at the drug concentrations of colistin 5 μg/mL and ciprofloxacin 20 μg/mL. Colistin (2 mg/L) monotherapy showed no antibacterial effect against P. aeruginosa H131300444 and H133880624. Ciprofloxacin (8 mg/L) monotherapy showed moderate bacterial killing for both clinical isolates; however, regrowth was observed in 6 h for P. aeruginosa H133880624. The liposomal formulation displayed superior antibacterial activity against clinical isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa H131300444 and P. aeruginosa H133880624 compared to each antibiotic per se. These results demonstrate that the liposomal powder formulation prepared by USFD could potentially be a pulmonary delivery system for antibiotic combination to treat multi-drug resistant Gram-negative lung infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118915
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2020


  • Aerosol performance
  • Antimicrobial activity
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Colistin
  • Dry powder inhaler
  • Liposome
  • Ultrasonic spray-freeze-drying

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