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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2005 Nov 3;57(11):1569-82. Epub 2005 Sep 19.

Thiomers: a new generation of mucoadhesive polymers.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Institute of Pharmacy, Leopold-Franzens-University Innsbruck, Innrain 52, Josef Möller Haus, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Thiolated polymers or designated thiomers are mucoadhesive basis polymers, which display thiol bearing side chains. Based on thiol/disulfide exchange reactions and/or a simple oxidation process disulfide bonds are formed between such polymers and cysteine-rich subdomains of mucus glycoproteins building up the mucus gel layer. Thiomers mimic therefore the natural mechanism of secreted mucus glycoproteins, which are also covalently anchored in the mucus layer by the formation of disulfide bonds-the bridging structure most commonly encountered in biological systems. So far the cationic thiomers chitosan-cysteine, chitosan-thiobutylamidine as well as chitosan-thioglycolic acid and the anionic thiomers poly(acylic acid)-cysteine, poly(acrylic acid)-cysteamine, carboxy-methylcellulose-cysteine and alginate-cysteine have been generated. Due to the immobilization of thiol groups on mucoadhesive basis polymers, their mucoadhesive properties are 2- up to 140-fold improved. The higher efficacy of this new generation of mucoadhesive polymers in comparison to the corresponding unmodified mucoadhesive basis polymers could be verified via various in vivo studies on various mucosal membranes in different animal species and in humans. The development of first commercial available products comprising thiomers is in progress. Within this review an overview of the mechanism of adhesion and the design of thiomers as well as delivery systems comprising thiomers and their in vivo performance is provided.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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