Dual antibacterial drug-loaded nanoparticles synergistically improve treatment of Streptococcus mutans biofilms

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Elsevier B.V.



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Dental caries (i.e., tooth decay), which is caused by biofilm formation on tooth surfaces, is the most prevalent oral disease worldwide. Unfortunately, many anti-biofilm drugs lack efficacy within the oral cavity due to poor solubility, retention, and penetration into biofilms. While drug delivery systems (DDS) have been developed to overcome these hurdles and improve traditional antimicrobial treatments, including farnesol, efficacy is still modest due to myriad resistance mechanisms employed by biofilms, suggesting that synergistic drug treatments may be more efficacious. Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans), a cariogenic pathogen and biofilm forming model organism, has several key virulence factors including acidogenicity and exopolysaccharide (EPS) matrix synthesis. Flavonoids, such as myricetin, can reduce both biofilm acidogenicity and EPS synthesis. Therefore, a nanoparticle carrier (NPC) DDS with flexibility to co-load farnesol in the hydrophobic core and myricetin within the cationic corona, was tested in vitro using established and developing S. mutans biofilms. Co-loaded NPC treatments effectively disrupted biofilm biomass (Le., dry weight) and reduced biofilm viability by similar to 3 log CFU/mL versus single drug-only controls in developing biofilms, suggesting dual-drug delivery exhibits synergistic anti-biofilm effects. Mechanistic studies revealed that co-loaded NPCs synergistically inhibited planktonic bacterial growth compared to controls and reduced S. mutans acidogenicity due to decreased atpD expression, a gene associated with acid tolerance. Moreover, the myricetin-loaded NPC corona enhanced NPC binding to tooth-mimetic surfaces, which can increase drug efficacy through improved retention at the biofilm-apatite interface. Altogether, these findings suggest promise for co-delivery of myricetin and farnesol DDS as an alternative anti-biofilm treatment to prevent dental caries. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Acta Materialia Inc.




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Acta Biomaterialia. Oxford: Elsevier Sci Ltd, v. 115, p. 418-431, 2020.

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