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J Control Release. 2000 Oct 3;69(1):197-207.

Improvement of the encapsulation efficiency of oligonucleotide-containing biodegradable microspheres.

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College of Pharmacy, Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin, Kelchstrasse 31, 12169 Berlin, Germany.


The objective of this study was to encapsulate an oligonucleotide drug within poly(lactide) microparticles with high encapsulation efficiencies at high theoretical drug loadings by the solvent evaporation method. With the conventional W/O/W method, the encapsulation efficiency decreased with increasing internal water content, increasing stirring time prior to filtration of the microparticles and increasing drug loading. The encapsulation was improved by replacing methylene chloride with ethyl acetate, by using micronized drug powder instead of an internal aqueous phase or by adding electrolytes or nonelectrolytes to the external phase. With ethyl acetate, a pre-emulsification step into a smaller volume of external aqueous phase was necessary in order to avoid premature polymer precipitation and to obtain microparticles. The addition of salts (NaCl or MgCl(2)) or sorbitol to the external aqueous phase significantly improved the encapsulation efficiency, even at high theoretical drug loadings. The microparticles had a denser structure with a smooth, pore-free surface.

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