Research Article

AAPS PharmSciTech

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 1411-1421

First online:

A Dry Powder Formulation of Liposome-Encapsulated Recombinant Secretory Leukocyte Protease Inhibitor (rSLPI) for Inhalation: Preparation and Characterisation

  • Aileen GibbonsAffiliated withSchool of Pharmacy, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
  • , Noel G. McElvaneyAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, Beaumont Hospital, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
  • , Sally-Ann CryanAffiliated withSchool of Pharmacy, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Email author 


Inhaled recombinant secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (rSLPI) has shown potential for the treatment of inflammatory lung conditions. Rapid inactivation of rSLPI by cathepsin L (Cat L) and rapid clearance from the lungs has limited clinical efficacy to date. Previous studies by us have shown that encapsulation of rSLPI within1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-[phospho-L-serine]/cholesterol (DOPS/Chol) liposomes protects rSLPI against Cat L inactivation in vitro. Liquid DOPS–rSLPI preparations were found to be unstable upon long-term storage and nebulisation. The aim of this study was therefore to develop a method of manufacture for preparing DOPS–rSLPI liposomes as a dry powder for inhalation. DOPS–rSLPI dry powders were lyophilised and subsequently micronised with a novel micronisation aid. The effects of formulation and processing on rSLPI stability, activity, and uniformity of content within the powders were characterised. Using D-mannitol as the micronisation aid, dry powder particles in the inhalable size range (<5 μm) were prepared. By optimising process parameters, up to 54% of rSLPI was recovered after micronisation, of which there was no significant loss in anti-neutrophil elastase activity and no detectable evidence of protein degradation. Aerosolisation was achieved using a dry powder inhaler, and mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD) was evaluated after collection in a cascade impactor. Aerosolisation of the DOPS–rSLPI dry powder yielded 38% emitted dose, with 2.44 μm MMAD. When challenged with Cat L post-aerosolisation, DOPS–rSLPI dry powder was significantly better at retaining a protective function against Cat L-induced rSLPI inactivation compared to the aqueous DOPS–rSLPI liposome dispersion and was also more stable under storage.


liposome powder protein pulmonary rSLPI