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Pharm Res. 1993 May;10(5):649-59.

Formulation design of acidic fibroblast growth factor.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Research, Merck Research Laboratory, West Point, Pennsylvania 19486.


The design of an aqueous formulation for acidic fibroblast growth factor (aFGF) requires an understanding of the type of compounds that can either directly or indirectly stabilize the protein. To this end, spectrophotometric turbidity measurements were initially employed to screen the ability of polyanionic ligands, less specific compounds, and variations in solution conditions (temperature and pH) to stabilize aFGF against heat-induced aggregation. It was found that in addition to the well-known protection of aFGF by heparin, a surprisingly wide variety of polyanions (including small sulfated and phosphorylated compounds) also stabilizes aFGF. These polyanionic ligands are capable of raising the temperature at which the protein unfolds by 15-30 degrees C. Many commonly used excipients were also observed to stabilize aFGF in both the presence and the absence of heparin. High concentrations of some of these less specific agents are also able to increase the temperature of aFGF thermal unfolding by as much as 6-12 degrees C as shown by circular dichroism and differential scanning calorimetry. Other compounds were found which protect the chemically labile cysteine residues of aFGF from oxidation. Aqueous formulations of aFGF were thus designed to contain both a polyanionic ligand that enhances structural integrity by binding to the protein and chelating agents (e.g., EDTA) to prevent metal ion-catalyzed oxidation of cysteine residues. While room-temperature storage (30 degrees C) leads to rapid inactivation of aFGF in physiological buffer alone, several of these aFGF formulations are stable in vitro for at least 3 months at 30 degrees C. Three aFGF topical formulations were examined in an impaired diabetic mouse model and were found to be equally capable of accelerating wound healing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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