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Title:Investigation of properties affecting controlled release of macromolecules from PLGA microspheres
Author(s):Stovall, Kalena D.
Director of Research:Pack, Daniel W.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pack, Daniel W.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Braatz, Richard D.; Chen, Jianjun; Higdon, Jonathan J.L.
Department / Program:Chemical & Biomolecular Engr
Discipline:Chemical Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
controlled release
precision fabrication
Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA)
macromolecule release
PLGA microspheres
Abstract:Poly(lactide-co-glycolide), or PLGA, microspheres offer a widely-studied biodegradable option for controlled release of therapeutics. An array of fabrication methodologies have been developed to produce these microspheres with the capacity to encapsulate therapeutics of various types; and produce microspheres of a wide range of sizes for different methods of delivery. The encapsulation, stability, and release profiles of therapeutic release based on physical and thermodynamic properties has also been studied and modeled to an extent. Much research has been devoted to tailoring formulations for improved therapeutic encapsulation and stability as well as selective release profiles. Despite the breadth of available research on PLGA microspheres, further analysis of fundamental principles regarding the microsphere degradation, formation, and therapeutic encapsulation is necessary. This work aims to examine additional fundamental principles related to PLGA microsphere formation and degradation from solvent-evaporation of preformed polymer. In particular, mapping the development of the acidic microenvironment inside the microsphere during degradation and erosion is discussed. Also, the effect of macromolecule size and conformation is examined with respect to microsphere diameter and PLGA molecular weight. Lastly, the effects of mechanical shearing and protein exposure to aqueous media during microsphere formation are examined. In an effort to better understand the acidic microenvironment development across the microsphere diameter, pH sensitive dye conjugated to protein that undergoes conformational change at different acidic pH values was encapsulated in PLGA microspheres of diameters ranging from 40 µm to 80 µm, and used in conjunction with fluorescence resonance energy transfer to measure the radial pH change in the microspheres. Qualitative analysis of confocal micrographs was used to correlate fluorescence intensity with pH value, and obtain the radial pH across the center of the microsphere. Therapeutic encapsulation and release from polymeric microspheres is governed by an interconnected variety of factors, including the therapeutic itself. The globular protein bovine serum albumin, and the elongated and significantly smaller enzyme, lysozyme, were encapsulated in PLGA microspheres ranging from 40 µm to 80 µm in diameter. The initial surface morphology upon microsphere formation, release profiles, and microsphere erosion characteristics were explored in an effort to better understand the effect of protein size, conformation, and known PLGA interaction on the formation and degradation of PLGA microspheres and macromolecule release, with respect to PLGA molecular weight and microsphere diameter. In addition to PLGA behavior and macromolecule behavior, the effect of mechanical stresses during fabrication was examined. Two similar solvent extraction techniques were compared for the fabrication of albumin loaded microspheres. In particular, the homogeneity of the microspheres as well as capacity to retain encapsulated albumin were compared. This preliminary study paves the way for a more rigorous treatment of the effect of mechanical forces present in popular microsphere fabrication. Several factors affecting protein release from PLGA microspheres are examined herein. The technique explored for spatial resolution of the pH inside the microsphere proved mildly effective in producing a reliable method of mapping microsphere pH changes. However, notable trends with respect to microsphere size, PLGA molecular weight, and microsphere porosity were observed. Proposed methods of improving spatial resolution of the acidic microenvironment are also provided. With respect to microsphere formation, studies showed that albumin and lysozyme had little effect on the internal homogeneity of the microsphere. Rather, ionic interactions with PLGA played a more significant role in the encapsulation and release of each macromolecule. Studies also showed that higher instances of mechanical stress led to less homogeneous microspheres with lower protein encapsulation. This suggests that perhaps instead of or in addition to modifying the microsphere formation formulation, the fabrication technique itself should be more closely considered in achieving homogeneous microspheres with desired loading.
Issue Date:2010-01-06
Rights Information:Copyright 2009 Kalena Dionne Stovall
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-01-06
Date Deposited:December 2

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