Composite thermoresponsive hydrogel with auranofin-loaded nanoparticles for topical treatment of vaginal trichomonad infection.Adv Ther (Weinh). 2019 Dec; 2(12)AT
Trichomonas vaginalis is responsible for the most common non-viral sexually-transmitted disease worldwide. Standard treatment is with oral nitro-heterocyclic compounds, metronidazole or tinidazole, but resistance to these drugs is emerging and adverse effects can be problematic. Topical treatment offers potential benefits for increasing local drug concentrations and efficacy, while reducing systemic drug exposure, but no topical strategies are currently approved for trichomoniasis. The anti-rheumatic drug, auranofin (AF), was recently discovered to have significant trichomonacidal activity, but has a long plasma half-life and significant adverse effects. Here, we used this drug as a model to develop a novel topical formulation composed of AF-loaded nanoparticles (NP) embedded in a thermoresponsive hydrogel for intravaginal administration. The AF-NP composite gel showed sustained drug release for at least 12 h, and underwent sol-gel transition with increased viscoelasticity within a minute. Intravaginal administration in mice showed excellent NP retention for >6 h and markedly increased local AF levels, but reduced plasma and liver levels compared to oral treatment with a much higher dose. Furthermore, intravaginal AF-NP gel greatly outperformed oral AF in eliminating vaginal trichomonad infection in mice, while causing no systemic or local toxicity. These results show the potential of the AF-NP hydrogel formulation for effective topical therapy of vaginal infections.