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A biodegradable polymeric system for peptide–protein delivery assembled with porous microspheres and nanoparticles, using an adsorption/infiltration process

International Journal of Nanomedicine
Dove Medical Press
Publication Date
DOI: 10.2147/ijn.s44482
  • Original Research
  • Biology


A biodegradable polymeric system is proposed for formulating peptides and proteins. The systems were assembled through the adsorption of biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles onto porous, biodegradable microspheres by an adsorption/infiltration process with the use of an immersion method. The peptide drug is not involved in the manufacturing of the nanoparticles or in obtaining the microspheres; thus, contact with the organic solvent, interfaces, and shear forces required for the process are prevented during drug loading. Leuprolide acetate was used as the model peptide, and poly(d,l-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) was used as the biodegradable polymer. Leuprolide was adsorbed onto different amounts of PLGA nanoparticles (25 mg/mL, 50 mg/mL, 75 mg/mL, and 100 mg/mL) in a first stage; then, these were infiltrated into porous PLGA microspheres (100 mg) by dipping the structures into a microsphere suspension. In this way, the leuprolide was adsorbed onto both surfaces (ie, nanoparticles and microspheres). Scanning electron microscopy studies revealed the formation of a nanoparticle film on the porous microsphere surface that becomes more continuous as the amount of infiltrated nanoparticles increases. The adsorption efficiency and release rate are dependent on the amount of adsorbed nanoparticles. As expected, a greater adsorption efficiency (~95%) and a slower release rate were seen (~20% of released leuprolide in 12 hours) when a larger amount of nanoparticles was adsorbed (100 mg/mL of nanoparticles). Leuprolide acetate begins to be released immediately when there are no infiltrated nanoparticles, and 90% of the peptide is released in the first 12 hours. In contrast, the systems assembled in this study released less than 44% of the loaded drug during the same period of time. The observed release profiles denoted a Fickian diffusion that fit Higuchi’s model (t1/2). The manufacturing process presented here may be useful as a potential alternative for formulating injectable depots for sensitive hydrophilic drugs such as peptides and proteins, among others.

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