Polymeric nanobiotics as a novel treatment for mycobacterial infections

J Control Release. 2019 Nov 28:314:116-124. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2019.10.009. Epub 2019 Oct 21.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) remains a major challenge to global health, made worse by the spread of multi-drug resistance. Currently, the efficacy and safety of treatment is limited by difficulties in achieving and sustaining adequate tissue antibiotic concentrations while limiting systemic drug exposure to tolerable levels. Here we show that nanoparticles generated from a polymer-antibiotic conjugate ('nanobiotics') deliver sustained release of active drug upon hydrolysis in acidic environments, found within Mtb-infected macrophages and granulomas, and can, by encapsulation of a second antibiotic, provide a mechanism of synchronous drug delivery. Nanobiotics are avidly taken up by infected macrophages, enhance killing of intracellular Mtb, and are efficiently delivered to granulomas and extracellular mycobacterial cords in vivo in an infected zebrafish model. We demonstrate that isoniazid (INH)-derived nanobiotics, alone or with additional encapsulation of clofazimine (CFZ), enhance killing of mycobacteria in vitro and in infected zebrafish, supporting the use of nanobiotics for Mtb therapy and indicating that nanoparticles generated from polymer-small molecule conjugates might provide a more general solution to delivering co-ordinated combination chemotherapy.

Keywords: Antibiotic; Clofazimine; Isoniazid; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Nanoparticles; Polymer-drug conjugate; Zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antitubercular Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antitubercular Agents / pharmacology
  • Clofazimine / administration & dosage
  • Clofazimine / pharmacology
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Combinations
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Isoniazid / administration & dosage*
  • Isoniazid / pharmacology
  • Macrophages / microbiology
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / drug effects*
  • Nanoparticles*
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology
  • Zebrafish


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Drug Combinations
  • Polymers
  • Clofazimine
  • Isoniazid