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Formation, characterization and application of polysaccharide aerogels
Gabrijela Horvat, 2018, doctoral dissertation

Abstract: The aim of this PhD dissertation was to describe and analyze the preparation and characterization of polysaccharide aerogels and their future pharmaceutical and medical application. For the research, we used four types of polysaccharides: pectin, alginate, xanthan and guar. We used two types of pectin, high-methoxyl and low-methoxyl pectin, because of their different gelation mechanisms. The first part of the dissertation describes the preparation and characterization of pure polysaccharide aerogels. First, we prepared pectin spherical aerogels, cross-linked with three different ions, and we investigated their final properties. Later, we developed a new method for the preparation of alginate, pectin, xanthan and guar aerogels. We used only ethanol and no other cross-linkers. Ethanol was removed in the later processes of supercritical drying, and the remaining final material was thus only porous polysaccharide. By this method, we were able to prepare pure xanthan and guar aerogels. Prior to this study, xanthan and guar aerogels were prepared only as composites. Pectin aerogels prepared by the new method have amazing properties. On the other hand, alginate aerogels show poor characteristics, and thus the methods need to be optimised. We tried different alginate viscosities, different alcohols (methanol, ethanol, 1-propanol and 1-butanol), and we investigated longer (24h) and shorter (1h) gel setting times. The second part of this dissertation describes the pharmaceutical and medical applications of prepared aerogels. The release of diclofenac sodium from spherical pectin aerogels was investigated in vitro. Calcium cross-linked aerogels were not able to retain the drug, and its release was immediate. In order to achieve controlled release of diclofenac sodium, zinc ions had to be used as cross-linkers. Later, a low water-soluble drug, nifedipine, was used as a model drug for the monolithic aerogels prepared by the new method. The release of nifedipine from pectin and alginate aerogels was highly increased, compared to the crystalline drug. This result is promising for future evaluation of these materials for increasing the bioavailability of poorly water-soluble drugs. Nifedipine release from xanthan and guar aerogels was prolonged up to two weeks. This result reveals a new perspective on such materials for their potential use in medicine as implants and local drug delivery. According to these results, we then developed a new coating material for medical-grade stainless steel from xanthan and pectin. An aerogel coating was loaded with diclofenac sodium and indomethacin, and their release profiles were investigated in vitro. Electrochemical analysis and cell tests proved the safety of such materials for use in medicine. Using aerogel coatings, the drug can be introduced locally into the body; therefore, the need for intravenous, post-operational treatment is greatly reduced.
Keywords: polysaccharides, aerogels, supercritical drying, drug carriers
Published: 09.04.2018; Views: 883; Downloads: 185
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