Enviroxime has been shown to inhibit the replication of rhinoviruses and other enteroviruses in concentrations as low as nanograms per milliliter in in vitro assays but is markedly less effective in clinical trials. The marked hydrophobicity and water insolubility of this compound may be a factor for this disparity. To overcome this handicap, we incorporated enviroxime into liposomes and then tested the antirhinovirus activity and toxicity of the liposome-incorporated enviroxime (LE) in cell culture and studied its administration by small- particle aerosol. Free enviroxime and LE were found to have equivalent efficacies against rhinovirus strains 1A and 13 in in vitro assays; however, preparations of LE were 10- to greater than or equal to 50- fold less toxic to tissue culture cells than was free enviroxime. In contrast to free enviroxime, which could not be delivered by small- particle aerosol because of its water insolubility, LE (4 mg/ml) was readily and successfully delivered by small-particle aerosol to the upper and lower respiratory tracts of mice; after just 20 min, significant levels of enviroxime were detected in the lungs and noses of exposed mice. Moreover, mice exposed to aerosols of liposomes containing both enviroxime and fluorescein isothiophosphatidylethanolamine showed accumulations of the fluorescent marker in the lungs, particularly in or around the tall columnar epithelial cells lining the bronchi and bronchioles.
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