Pullulan w-carboxyalkanoates for Drug Nanodispersions


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Virginia Tech


Pullulan is an exopolysaccharide secreted extracellularly by the black yeast-like fungi Aureobasidium pullulans. Due to an alpha-(1-->6) linked maltotriose repeat unit, which interferes with hydrogen bonding and crystallization, pullulan is completely water soluble unlike cellulose. It has also been tested and shown to possess non-toxic, biodegradable, non-mutagenic and non-carcinogenic properties. Chemical modification of polysaccharides to increased hydrophobicity and increase functionality has shown great promise in drug delivery systems. Particularly in amorphous solid dispersion (ASD) formulations, hydrophobicity increases miscibility with hydrophobic, crystalline drugs and carboxy functionality provides stabilization with drug moieties and well as pH specific release. Successful synthesis of cellulose w-carboxyalkanoates have been reported and showed great promise as ASD polymers based on their ability to retard the recrystallization of the HIV drug ritonavir and antibacterial clarithromycin. However, these cellulose derivatives have limitations due to their limited water solubility. Natural pullulan is water-soluble and modification with w-carboxyalkanoate groups would provide a unique set of derivatives with increased solubility therefore stronger polymer-drug interactions in solution.

We have successfully prepared novel pullulan w-carboxyalkanoates, which exhibit good solubility in polar aprotic and polar protic solvents. All derivatives exhibit high thermal stability and most recorded high glass transition temperatures. Due to unknown impact of their three dimensional structure on miscibility and stabilization of drug against crystallization, each of these polymers possesses great potential for use in various drug delivery applications.



pullulan, amorphous solid dispersions, carboxyalkanoates, drug delivery