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J Control Release. 2007 Jul 31;120(3):178-85. Epub 2007 May 3.

Prevention of peritoneal adhesions with an in situ cross-linkable hyaluronan hydrogel delivering budesonide.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Peritoneal adhesions are tissue connections that form within the abdominopelvic cavity following surgery or other injuries. They can cause major medical complications. Barrier devices and pharmacological agents have been used to prevent adhesion formation, with mixed success. We hypothesize that an adhesion barrier which also delivers anti-adhesion drugs can address both physical and physiological causes for adhesion formation. Here, we describe an in situ cross-linking hyaluronan hydrogel (barrier device) containing the glucocorticoid receptor agonist budesonide. Budesonide was chosen because of the known role of inflammation in adhesion formation, hyaluronan because of its known biocompatibility in the peritoneum. The system, consisting of two cross-linkable precursor liquids, was applied using a double-barreled syringe, forming a flexible and durable hydrogel in less than 5 s. We applied this formulation or controls to the injured sites after the second injury in a severe repeat sidewall defect-cecum abrasion model of peritoneal adhesion formation in the rabbit. Large adhesions (median area 15.4 cm(2)) developed in all saline-treated animals. Adhesion formation and area were slightly mitigated in animals treated with budesonide in saline (median area 5.0 cm(2)) or the hydrogel without budesonide (median area 4.9 cm(2)). The incidence and area of adhesions were dramatically reduced in animals treated with budesonide in the hydrogel (median area 0.0 cm(2)). In subcutaneous injections in rats, budesonide in hydrogel reduced inflammation compared to hydrogel alone. In summary, budesonide in a hyaluronan hydrogel is easy to use and highly effective in preventing adhesions in our severe repeated injury model. It is a potentially promising system for post-surgical adhesion prevention, and suggests that the effectiveness of barrier devices can be greatly enhanced by concurrent drug delivery.

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