Tetracycline nanoparticles as antibacterial and gene-silencing agents

Adv Healthc Mater. 2015 Apr 2;4(5):723-8. doi: 10.1002/adhm.201400631. Epub 2014 Nov 25.


The spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and parasites calls for the development of new therapeutic strategies with could potentially reverse this trend. Here, a proposal is presented to exploit a sonochemical method to restore the antibiotic activity of tetracycline (TTCL) against resistant bacteria by converting the antibiotic into a nanoparticulate form. The demonstrated sonochemical method allows nanoscale TTCL assembly to be driven by supramolecular hydrogen bond formation, with no further modification to the antibiotic's chemical structure. It is shown that tetracycline nanoparticles (TTCL NPs) can act as antibacterial agents, both against TTCL sensitive and against resistant bacterial strains. Moreover, the synthesized antibiotic nanoparticles (NPs) can act as effective gene-silencing agents through the use of a TTCL repressor in Trypanosome brucei parasites. It is demonstrated that the NPs are nontoxic to human cells and T. brucei parasites and are able to release their monomer components in an active form in a manner that results in enhanced antimicrobial activity relative to a homogeneous solution of the precursor monomer. As the TTCL NPs are biocompatible and biodegradable, sonochemical formation of TTCL NPs represents a new promising approach for generation of pharmaceutically active nanomaterials.

Keywords: antibiotics; nanoparticles; resistant bacteria; sonochemistry.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Cell Line
  • Gene Silencing / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Microbial Viability / drug effects
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Tetracycline / chemistry*
  • Tetracycline / pharmacology
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / drug effects
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / genetics
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / metabolism


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Tetracycline