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Mechanistic Studies on the Degradation and Protein Release Characteristics of Poly(lactic-co-glycolic-co-hydroxymethylglycolic acid) Nanospheres

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journal contribution
posted on 08.04.2013 by N. Samadi, C. F. van Nostrum, T. Vermonden, M. Amidi, W. E. Hennink
The purpose of this study was to gain mechanistic insights into the effect of different formulation parameters on the degradation and release behavior of protein-loaded nanoparticulate carrier systems based on an aliphatic polyester with pendant hydroxyl groups, poly­(lactic-co-glycolic-hydroxymethyl glycolic acid) (pLGHMGA). Bovine serum albumin (BSA) was used as a model protein. BSA-loaded pLGHMGA nanospheres of 400–700 nm were prepared using a solvent evaporation method using pLGHMGA of different molecular weights and different compositions. Also, the concentration of pLGHMGA in the organic phase was varied. The nanospheres showed a continuous mass loss accompanied by continuous decrease in number average molecular weight, which indicates that the degradation of the nanospheres is by bulk degradation with a rapid release of water-soluble low molecular weight fragments. On the basis of NMR analysis, it is concluded that intramolecular transesterification precedes extensive hydrolysis of the polymer and degradation of the nanospheres. BSA-loaded freeze-dried nanospheres showed a significant burst release of 40–50% of the BSA loading. In contrast, nonfreeze-dried samples showed a small burst of around 10–20%, indicating that freeze-drying induced pore formation. Nonlyophilized nanospheres prepared from pLGHMGA with 64/18/18 lactic/glycolic/hydroxymethylglycolic acid (L/G/HMG) ratio showed a relatively fast release of BSA for the next 30 days. Nanospheres prepared from a more hydrophobic pLGHMGA (74/13/13, L/G/HMG) showed a two-phase release. Circular dichroism analysis showed that the secondary structure of the released protein was preserved. This study shows a correlation between release behavior and particle erosion rate, which can be modulated by the copolymer composition.