Omiganan Enhances Imiquimod-Induced Inflammatory Responses in Skin of Healthy Volunteers.

Niemeyer-van der Kolk T, Assil S, Buters TP, Rijsbergen M, Klaassen ES, Feiss G, Florencia E, Prens EP, Burggraaf J, van Doorn MBA, Rissmann R, Moerland M

Omiganan (OMN; a synthetic cationic peptide) and imiquimod (IMQ; a TLR7 agonist) have synergistic effects on interferon responses in vitro. The objective of this study was to translate this to a human model for proof-of-concept, and to explore the potential of OMN add-on treatment for viral skin diseases. Sixteen healthy volunteers received topical IMQ, OMN, or a combination of both for up to 4 days on tape-stripped skin. Skin inflammation was quantified by laser speckle contrast imaging and 2D photography, and molecular and cellular responses were analyzed in biopsies. IMQ treatment induced an inflammatory response of the skin. Co-treatment with OMN enhanced this inflammatory response to IMQ, with increases in perfusion (+17.1%; 95% confidence interval (CI) 5.6%-30%; P < 0.01) and erythema (+1.5; 95% CI 0.25%-2.83; P = 0.02). Interferon regulatory factor-driven and NFκB-driven responses following TLR7 stimulation were enhanced by OMN (increases in IL-6, IL-10, MXA, and IFNɣ), and more immune cell infiltration was observed (in particular CD4+, CD8+, and CD14+ cells). These findings are in line with the earlier mechanistic in vitro data, and support evaluation of imiquimod/OMN combination therapy in human papillomavirus-induced skin diseases.