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Biomacromolecules. 2016 Aug 8;17(8):2540-54. doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.6b00512. Epub 2016 Jul 26.

Self-Assembly of pH-Responsive Microspheres for Intestinal Delivery of Diverse Lipophilic Therapeutics.

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Department of Pharmacy, Hospital 309 of PLA , Beijing 100091, China.


Targeted delivery of therapeutics to the intestine is preferred for the management of many diseases due to its diverse advantages. Currently, there are still challenges in creating cost-effective and translational pH-responsive microspheres for intestinal delivery of various hydrophobic drugs. Herein we report a multiple noncovalent interactions-mediated assembly strategy in which carboxyl-bearing compounds (CBCs) are guest molecules, while poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAm) serves as a host polymer. Formation of microparticles and therapeutic packaging can be achieved simultaneously by this assembly approach, leading to well-shaped microspheres with extremely higher drug loading capacity as compared to microspheres based on two FDA-approved materials of poly(d,l-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) and an enteric coating polymer EudragitS 100 (S100). Also, carboxyl-deficient hydrophobic drugs can be effectively entrapped. These assembled microspheres, with excellent reconstitution capability as well as desirable scalability, could selectively release drug molecules under intestinal conditions. By significantly enhancing drug dissolution/release in the intestine, these pH-responsive assemblies may notably improve the oral bioavailability of loaded therapeutics. Moreover, the assembled microspheres possessed superior therapeutic performance in rodent models of inflammation and tumor over the control microspheres derived from PLGA and S100. Therapy with newly developed microspheres did not cause undesirable side effects. Furthermore, in vivo evaluation in mice revealed the carrier material PNIPAm was safe for oral delivery at doses as high as 10 g/kg. Collectively, our findings demonstrated that this type of pH-responsive microsphere may function as superior and translational intestine-directed delivery systems for a diverse array of therapeutics.

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