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Arch Pharm Res. 2004 Jan;27(1):118-26.

Preparation of alginate/chitosan microcapsules and enteric coated granules of mistletoe lectin.

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College of Natural Sciences, Seoul Womens University, Seoul 139-774, Korea.


The aqueous extract of European mistletoe (Viscum album, L.) has been used in cancer therapy. The purified mistletoe lectins, main components of mistletoe, have demonstrated cytotoxic and immune-system-stimulating activities. Korean mistletoe (Viscum album L. coloratum), a subspecies of European mistletoe, has also been reported to possess anticancer and immunological activities. A galactose- and N-acetyl-D-galactosamine-specific lectin (Viscum album L. coloratum agglutinin, VCA) with Mr 60 kDa was isolated from Korean mistletoe. Mistletoe preparations have been given subcutaneously due to the low stability of lectin in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. In the present study, we investigated the possibility of alginate/chitosan microcapsules as a tool for oral delivery of mistletoe lectin. In addition, our strategy has been to develop a system composed of stabilizing cores (granules), which contain mistletoe lectin, extract or powder, coated by a biodegradable polymer wall. Our results indicated that successful incorporation of VCA into alginate/chitosan microcapsules has been achieved and that the alginate/chitosan microcapsule protected the VCA from degradation at acidic pH values. And coating the VCA with polyacrylic polymers, Eudragit, produced outstanding results with ideal release profiles and only minimal losses of cytotoxicity after manufacturing step. The granules prepared with extract or whole plant produced the best results due to the stability in the extract or whole plant during manufacturing process.

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