Development of mucoadhesive electrospun scaffolds for intravaginal delivery of Lactobacilli spp., a tenside, and metronidazole for the management of bacterial vaginosis

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an infection of the vagina associated with thriving anaerobes, such as Gardnerella vaginitis and other associated pathogens. These pathogens form a biofilm responsible for the recurrence of infection after antibiotic therapy. The aim of this study was to develop a novel mucoadhesive polyvinyl alcohol and polycaprolactone electrospun nanofibrous scaffolds for vaginal delivery, incorporating metronidazole, a tenside, and Lactobacilli. This approach to drug delivery sought to combine an antibiotic for bacterial clearance, a tenside biofilm disruptor, and a lactic acid producer to restore healthy vaginal flora and prevent the recurrence of bacterial vaginosis. F7 and F8 had the least ductility at 29.25% and 28.39%, respectively, and this could be attributed to the clustering of particles that prevented the mobility of the crazes. F2 had the highest at 93.83% due to the addition of a surfactant that increased the affinity of the components. The scaffolds exhibited mucoadhesion between 31.54 ± 0.83% and 57.86 ± 0.95%, where an increased sodium cocoamphoacetate concentration led to increased mucoadhesion. F6 showed the highest mucoadhesion at 57.86 ± 0.95%, as compared to 42.67 ± 1.22% and 50.89 ± 1.01% for the F8 and F7 scaffolds, respectively. The release of metronidazole via a non-Fickian diffusion-release mechanism indicated both swelling and diffusion. The anomalous transport within the drug-release profile pointed to a drug-discharge mechanism that combined both diffusion and erosion. The viability studies showed a growth of Lactobacilli fermentum in both the polymer blend and the nanofiber formulation that was retained post-storage at 25 °C for 30 days. The developed electrospun scaffolds for the intravaginal delivery of Lactobacilli spp., along with a tenside and metronidazole for the management of bacterial vaginosis, provide a novel tool for the treatment and management of recurrent vaginal infection.