European journal of pharmaceutical sciences : official journal of the European Federation for Pharmaceutical Sciences

Engineering gas-foamed large porous particles for efficient local delivery of macromolecules to the lung.

PMID 20510360


Gas-foamed large porous particles (gfLPP) based on poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) have been recently suggested as potential carriers for pulmonary drug delivery. In this work, we attempt to engineer gfLPP for efficient local delivery of macromolecules in the lungs. Particles were fabricated by the double emulsion-solvent evaporation technique using ammonium bicarbonate as porogen. To improve particle technological properties, two lipid aid excipients, namely dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) and 1,2-dioleoyl-3-trimethylammonium-propane (DOTAP), were tested. Preliminary technological studies performed on unloaded gfLPP showed that the addition of an appropriate amount of NH(4)(HCO(3)), which spontaneously produces CO(2) and NH(3) during solvent evaporation, is essential to achieve a homogeneous population of highly porous particles with optimal aerodynamic properties. Then, the effect of the presence of DPPC or DOTAP upon the properties of gfLPP containing a model hydrophilic macromolecule, rhodamine B isothiocyanate-dextran (Rhod-dex), was assessed. We found that in the case of hydrophilic macromolecules unable to interact with PLGA end-groups, such as Rhod-dex, excipient addition is essential to increase the amount of drug entrapped within gfLPP, being as high as 80% only for DPPC- or DOTAP-engineered gfLPP. Also Rhod-dex release profile from gfLPP was strongly affected by excipient addition in the initial formulation, with lipid-engineered gfLPP allowing for a more prolonged release of Rhod-dex as compared to excipient-free gfLPP. A further modulation of Rhod-dex initial release rate could be achieved when DOTAP was used, likely due to the electrostatic interactions occurring between macromolecule and cationic phospholipid. Conceiving the developed gfLPP for drug inhalation, DPPC- and DOTAP-engineered gfLPP displayed optimal MMAD(exp) values falling within the range 6.1-7.6 microm and very low geometric standard deviations (GSD) varying between 1.2 and 1.3. In vivo deposition studies performed after intra-tracheal administration of gfLPP in rats confirmed the ability of the developed dry powders to deposit along bronchia and bronchioles. In perspective, lipid-engineered gfLPP represent a viable alternative to LPP developed so far to achieve local and prolonged release of hydrophilic macromolecules, such as nucleic acids, in the lungs.

Related Materials

Product #



Molecular Formula

Add to Cart

Rhodamine B isothiocyanate–Dextran, average mol wt ~70,000