Objectives: Bacterial pneumonia is a common cause of death worldwide. Tea tree oil (TTO) is a potent antimicrobial natural product, which is formulated in dry powder inhalers (DPIs) for the treatment of fungal and bacterial pneumonia.
Methods: Tea tree oil-β-cyclodextrin inclusion complexes (TTO-β-CD) were prepared and characterized. Aerodynamic properties of TTO-β-CD powders were measured. The rat models of fungal (Candida albicans) and bacterial (Acinetobacter baumannii) pneumonia were prepared. Saline, TTO, TTO-β-CD and the positive drug (fluconazole or penicillin) were directly delivered to the rat lungs. Pathological and biological assays were conducted.
Key findings: Tea tree oil-β-CD powders had an appropriate aerodynamic diameter of 5.59 μm and the fine particle fraction of 51.22%, suitable for pulmonary delivery. TTO-β-CD showed higher and similar antipneumonic effects on the rat models than fluconazole and penicillin, respectively. The effects of TTO-β-CD were higher than TTO alone. The antipneumonic mechanisms involved blocking the recruitment of leucocytes and neutrophils, eliminating the microbes, downregulating pro-inflammatory cytokines (including tumour necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1β and interleukin-6), suppressing cyclooxygenase 2 expression, and further reducing lung injury.
Conclusions: Inhaled TTO-β-CD powders have the advantages of portability, high stability, self-administration, high lung deposition and good antipneumonic effect. It is a promising DPI for the treatment of fungal and bacterial pneumonia.
Keywords: bacterial pneumonia; cyclodextrin; fungal pneumonia; pulmonary delivery; tea tree oil.
© 2017 Royal Pharmaceutical Society.