Antibiotic-free nanotherapeutics: Hypericin nanoparticles thereof for improvedin vitroandin vivoantimicrobial photodynamic therapy and wound healing

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Hypericin (HY) is a naturally-occurring, potent photosensitizer. However, its lipophilicity limits its therapeutic applications. Our attempt is, thus, to develop a biodegradable nanocarrier for hypericin capable of preserving its antibacterial photoactivity. Amphiphilic block copolymers were synthesized to prepare hypericin-laden nanoparticles (HY-NPs). The antimicrobial photoactivity of HY-NPs was assessed; in vitro against biofilm and planktonic cells of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) clinical isolates and in vivo on infected wounds in rats. Nanoparticles of 45 nm in diameter ensured higher amounts of reactive oxygen species upon irradiation. HY-NPs demonstrated superior inhibition of biofilm over planktonic cells. In vivo wound healing studies in rats revealed faster healing, better epithelialization, keratinization and development of collagen fibers when HY-NPs were applied. Determination of growth factors and inflammatory mediators in the wound area confirmed superior healing potential of nanoencapsulated hypericin suggesting that hypericin can join the era of antibiotic-free antimicrobial therapy.

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