Rapid-dissolving electrospun nanofibers for intra-vaginal antibiotic or probiotic delivery

Farnaz Minooei, Nicole M. Gilbert, Longyun Zhang, Mary Sarah NeCamp, Mohamed Y. Mahmoud, Anthony J. Kyser, Kevin M. Tyo, Walter H. Watson, Ruta Patwardhan, Warren G. Lewis, Hermann B. Frieboes, Amanda L. Lewis, Jill M. Steinbach-Rankins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The emergence of probiotics as an alternative and adjunct to antibiotic treatment for microbiological disturbances of the female genitourinary system requires innovative delivery platforms for vaginal applications. This study developed a new, rapid-dissolving form using electrospun polyethylene oxide (PEO) fibers for delivery of antibiotic metronidazole or probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus, and performed evaluation in vitro and in vivo. Fibers did not generate overt pathophysiology or encourage Gardnerella growth in a mouse vaginal colonization model, inducing no alterations in vaginal mucosa at 24 hr post-administration. PEO-fibers incorporating metronidazole (100 µg MET/mg polymer) effectively prevented and treated Gardnerella infections (∼3- and 2.5-log reduction, respectively, 24 hr post treatment) when administered vaginally. Incorporation of live Lactobacillus acidophilus (107 CFU/mL) demonstrated viable probiotic delivery in vitro by PEO and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) fibers to inhibit Gardnerella (108 CFU/mL) in bacterial co-cultures (9.9- and 7.0-log reduction, respectively, 24 hr post-inoculation), and in the presence of vaginal epithelial cells (6.9- and 8.0-log reduction, respectively, 16 hr post-inoculation). Administration of Lactobacillus acidophilus in PEO-fibers achieved vaginal colonization in mice similar to colonization observed with free Lactobacillus. acidophilus. These experiments provide proof-of-concept for rapid-dissolving electrospun fibers as a successful platform for intra-vaginal antibiotic or probiotic delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-93
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
StatePublished - Sep 2023


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