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Biomaterials. 2011 Jan;32(1):214-21. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.08.076. Epub 2010 Sep 28.

Eradication of drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus by liposomal oleic acids.

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Division of Dermatology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) represents a major threat to a broad range of healthcare and community associated infections. This bacterium has rapidly evolved resistance to multiple drugs throughout its antibiotic history and thus it is imperative to develop novel antimicrobial strategies to enrich the currently shrinking therapeutic options against S. aureus. This study evaluated the antimicrobial activity and therapeutic efficacy of oleic acid (OA) in a liposomal formulation as an innate bactericide against methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). In vitro studies showed that these OA-loaded liposomes (LipoOA) could rapidly fuse into the bacterial membranes, thereby significantly improving the potency of OA to kill MRSA compared with the use of free OA. Further in vivo tests demonstrated that LipoOA were highly effective in curing skin infections caused by MRSA bacteria and preserving the integrity of the infected skin using a mouse skin model. Moreover, a preliminary skin toxicity study proved high biocompatibility of LipoOA to normal skin tissues. These findings suggest that LipoOA hold great potential to become a new, effective, and safe antimicrobial agent for the treatment of MRSA infections.

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