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Preparation of Heat-Denatured Macroaggregated Albumin for Biomedical Applications Using a Microfluidics Platform

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posted on 07.04.2021, 18:03 by Tullio V. F. Esposito, Helene Stütz, Cristina Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Marta Bergamo, Lovelyn Charles, Reka Geczy, Colin Blackadar, Jörg P. Kutter, Katayoun Saatchi, Urs O. Häfeli
Albumin is widely used in pharmaceutical applications to alter the pharmacokinetic profile, improve efficacy, or decrease the toxicity of active compounds. Various drug delivery systems using albumin have been reported, including microparticles. Macroaggregated albumin (MAA) is one of the more common forms of albumin microparticles, which is predominately used for lung perfusion imaging when labeled with radionuclide technetium-99m (99mTc). These microparticles are formed by heat-denaturing albumin in a bulk solution, making it very challenging to control the size and dispersity of the preparations (coefficient of variation, CV, ∼50%). In this work, we developed an integrated microfluidics platform to create more tunable and precise MAA particles, the so-called microfluidic-MAA (M2A2). The microfluidic chips, prepared using off-stoichiometry thiol-ene chemistry, consist of a flow-focusing region followed by an extended and water-heated curing channel (85 °C). M2A2 particles with diameters between 70 and 300 μm with CVs between 10 and 20% were reliably prepared by adjusting the flow rates of the dispersed and continuous phases. To demonstrate the pharmaceutical utility of M2A2, particles were labeled with indium-111 (111In) and their distribution was assessed in healthy mice using nuclear imaging. 111In-M2A2 behaved similarly to 99mTc-MAA, with lung uptake predominately observed early on followed by clearance over time by the reticuloendothelial and renal systems. Our microfluidic chip represents an elegant and controllable method to prepare albumin microparticles for biomedical applications.