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Pharm Res. 2011 Jul;28(7):1668-82. doi: 10.1007/s11095-011-0403-z. Epub 2011 Mar 11.

Surface characterisation of bioadhesive PLGA/chitosan microparticles produced by supercritical fluid technology.

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Department of Drug and Health Sciences, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Urbino P.zza Rinascimento 6, Urbino, 61029, Italy.



Novel biodegradable and mucoadhesive PLGA/chitosan microparticles with the potential for use as a controlled release gastroretentive system were manufactured using supercritical CO(2) (scCO(2)) by the Particle Gas Saturated System (PGSS) technique (also called CriticalMix(TM)).


Microparticles were produced from PLGA with the addition of mPEG and chitosan in the absence of organic solvents, surfactants and crosslinkers using the PGSS technique. Microparticle formulations were morphologically characterized by scanning electron microscope; particle size distribution was measured using laser diffraction. Microparticle surface was analyzed using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) to evaluate the presence of chitosan on the surface. Mucoadhesiveness of the microparticles was evaluated in vitro using a mucin assay employing two different kinds of mucin (Mucin type III and I-S) with different degrees of sialic acid contents, 0.5-1.5% and 9-17%, respectively.


The two analytical surface techniques (XPS and ToF-SIMS) demonstrated the presence of the chitosan on the surface of the particles (<100 μm), dependent on the polymer composition of the microparticles. The interaction between the mucin solutions and the PLGA/chitosan microparticles increased significantly with an increasing concentration of mucin and chitosan.


The strong interaction of mucin with the chitosan present on the surface of the particles suggests a potential use of the mucoadhesive carriers for gastroretentive and oral controlled drug release.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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