DNA-Crosslinked Alginate and Layered Microspheres to Modulate the Release of Encapsulated FITC-dextran

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European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics


Alginate can be gently crosslinked by calcium into hydrogels and microspheres for the encapsulation and release of proteins and drugs. However, the release is often over short periods unless alginate is also covalently modified or crosslinked. This research aims to sustain the release of encapsulated model drug FITC-dextran by covalently crosslinking alginate with short oligomers DNA because evidence suggests that DNA may also interact with alginate to further increase effective crosslinking. Furthermore, modulating the release of drugs from alginate in response to specific proteins could tailor release profiles to improve patient treatment. This research develops a DNA-crosslinked alginate hydrogel and layered alginate microspheres to encapsulate and then sustain the release FITC-dextran (model drug). An aptamer sequence to hen egg-white lysozyme is included in one DNA strand to allow for the disruption of the crosslinks by interactions with human lysozyme. Alginate was covalently modified with complementary strands of DNA to crosslink the alginate into hydrogels, which had increased crosslinking density when re-swollen (in comparison to controls crosslinked with PEG) and could sustained the release of encapsulated FITC-dextran. When an aptamer sequence for hen lysozyme was included in the DNA crosslinks, the hydrogels decrosslinked when incubated in human lysozyme for 60 days. In addition, calcium alginate microspheres were coated with 3 alternating layers of poly-Lysine, DNA-crosslinked alginate, and poly-L-lysine. FITC-dextran loaded into the microspheres released in a sustained manner past 30 days (into PBS at 37 °C) and would likely continue to release for far longer had the studies continued. When incubated with 3 μM of human lysozyme, a burst release of FITC-dextran occurred from both the hydrogels and microspheres, with no changes in the controls. The increased release was in bursts followed by similar sustained release rates suggesting that the human lysozyme temporarily disrupted the DNA crosslinks which were then re-established or were influenced by interactions between DNA and alginate. Importantly, covalently bound complementary strands of DNA could crosslink the alginate and additional interactions appeared to further sustain the release of encapsulated therapeutics.



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Alginate, Aptamers, DNA, Hydrogels, Lysozyme, Microspheres, Protein, Stimuli-responsive, Sustained release