Peptide drug stability: The anti-inflammatory drugs Pep19-2.5 and Pep19-4LF in cream formulation

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In previous years, we developed anti-infective drugs based on antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which have been shown to effectively block severe infections and inflammation in vitro as well as in vivo. Besides systemic application, the occurrence of severe local infections necessitates a topical application for example in the case of severe skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI). Recent investigations show that the synthetic anti-lipopolysaccharide peptide (SALP) Pep19-2.5 (Aspidasept® I) and a variant called Pep19-4LF (Aspidasept® II) are able to supress inflammation reactions also in keratinocytes, Langerhans cells, and dendritic cells from the skin. For topical application, a possible formulation represents the drug dispersed into a pharmaceutical cream (DAC base cream). Here, we present investigations on the stability of the peptides using this formulation in dependence on time, which includes the evaluation of the extraction procedure, the quantitative analysis of the peptides after extraction, its sensitivity to protease degradation and its ability to maintain activity against LPS-induced inflammation in vitro. We have developed an extraction procedure for the peptides with an optimum yield and showed that Pep19-2.5 is present as a dimer after extraction from the cream, whereas Pep19-4LF retains its monomeric form. Both peptides show no degradation by chymotrypsin after extraction for at least 1 h, which is indicative for an attachment of constituents of the base cream, inhibiting the cutting into peptidic part structures. The extracted peptides and in particular the dimeric Pep19-2.5 are still able to inhibit the LPS-induced inflammation reaction in human mononuclear cells.Graphical Abstract

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