Development of Rifampicin-Indocyanine green-loaded perfluorocarbon nanodroplets for photo-chemo-probiotic antimicrobial therapy

Kuang Hung Hsiao, Chun Ming Huang, Yu Hsiang Lee

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4 Scopus citations


Acne vulgaris, generally resulted from overgrowth of Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), is one of the most difficult-to-treat facial dermatoses and more than 90% of adolescents experienced the disease worldwide. Because the innate non-lymphoid immune system cannot effectively eliminate excessive P. acnes from the skin surface, so far the therapy of acne vulgaris is still mainly dependent on antibiotic treatment. However, long-term or overdose of antibiotics may initiate microbial drug resistance and/or generate unexpected side effects that seriously hamper the use of antibiotics in the clinic. To overcome the aforementioned challenges, the novel rifampicin (RIF)-indocyanine green (ICG)-loaded perfluorocarbon (PFC) nanodroplets (RIPNDs) that may offer combined photo-, chemo-, and probiotic efficacies to P. acnes eradication were developed in this study. The RIPND was first characterized as a sphere-like nanoparticle with surface charge of -20.9 ± 2.40 mV and size of 240.7 ± 6.73 nm, in which the encapsulation efficiencies of RIF and ICG were 54.0 ± 10.5% and 95.0 ± 4.84%, respectively. In comparison to the freely dissolved ICG, the RIPNDs conferred an enhanced thermal stability to the entrapped ICG, and were able to provide a comparable hyperthermia effect and markedly increased production of singlet oxygen under near infrared (NIR; 808 nm, 6 W/cm2) exposure. Furthermore, the RIPNDs were able to induce fermentation of S. epidermidis but not P. acnes, indicating that the RIPNDs may serve as a selective fermentation initiator for the target probiotics. Based on the microbial population index analyses, P. acnes with 1 × 106 cells/mL can be completely eradicated by 12-h co-culture with S. epidermidis fermentation products followed by treatment of RIPNDs (≥20-μM ICG/3.8-μM RIF) + NIR for 5 min, whereby the resulted microbial mortality was even higher than that caused by using 16-fold enhanced amount of loaded RIF alone. Overall these efforts show that the RIPNDs were able to provide improved ICG stability, selective fermentability to S. epidermidis, and enhanced antimicrobial efficacy compared to equal dosage of free RIF and/or ICG, indicating that the developed nanodroplets are highly potential for use in the clinical anti-P. acne treatment with reduced chemotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1254
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Issue numberNOV
StatePublished - 2 Nov 2018


  • Double emulsion
  • Indocyanine green
  • P. acnes
  • Perfluorocarbon
  • Photochemoprobiotic therapy
  • Probiotics


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