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Mol Pharm. 2012 Feb 6;9(2):269-80. doi: 10.1021/mp200351y. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Controlled release pulmonary administration of curcumin using swellable biocompatible microparticles.

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Polymer Laboratory, Chemistry Department, Faculty of Science, Mansoura University, ET-35516 Mansoura, Egypt.


This study involves a promising approach to achieve sustained pulmonary drug delivery. Dry powder particulate carriers were engineered to allow simultaneous aerosol lung delivery, evasion of macrophage uptake, and sustained drug release through a controlled polymeric architecture. Chitosan grafted with PEG was synthesized and characterized (FTIR, EA, DSC and 2D-XRD). Then, a series of respirable amphiphilic hydrogel microparticles were developed via spray drying of curcumin-loaded PLGA nanoparticles with chitosan-grafted-PEG or chitosan. The nanoparticles and microparticles were fully characterized using an array of physicochemical analytical methods including particle size, surface morphology, dynamic swelling, density, moisture content and biodegradation rates. The PLGA nanoparticles and the hydrogel microspheres encapsulating the curcumin-loaded PLGA nanoparticles showed average size of 221-243 nm and 3.1-3.9 μm, respectively. The developed carriers attained high swelling within a few minutes and showed low moisture content as dry powders (0.9-1.8%), desirable biodegradation rates, high drug loading (up to 97%), and good sustained release. An aerosolization study was conducted using a next generation impactor, and promising aerosolization characteristics were shown. In vitro macrophage uptake studies, cytotoxicity and in vitro TNF-α assays were performed for the investigated particles. These assays revealed promising biointeractions for the respirable/swellable nano-micro particles developed in this study as potential carriers for sustained pulmonary drug delivery.

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