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The nature of peptide interactions with acid end-group PLGAs and facile aqueous-based microencapsulation of therapeutic peptides

Sophocleous, Andreas M., Desai, Kashappa-Goud H., Mazzara, J. Maxwell, Tong, Ling, Cheng, Ji-Xin, Olsen, Karl F., Schwendeman, Steven P.
Journal of controlled release 2013 v.172 no.3 pp. 662-670
Raman spectroscopy, absorption, acetates, amino acid composition, image analysis, microencapsulation, octreotide, polymers, production costs, rats, salts, sodium azide, temperature, testosterone
An important poorly understood phenomenon in controlled-release depots involves the strong interaction between common cationic peptides and low Mw free acid end-group poly(lactic-co-glycolic acids) (PLGAs) used to achieve continuous peptide release kinetics. The kinetics of peptide sorption to PLGA was examined by incubating peptide solutions of 0.2–4mM octreotide or leuprolide acetate salts in a 0.1M HEPES buffer, pH7.4, with polymer particles or films at 4–37°C for 24h. The extent of absorption/loading of peptides in PLGA particles/films was assayed by two-phase extraction and amino acid analysis. Confocal Raman microspectroscopy, stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) and laser scanning confocal imaging, and microtome sectioning techniques were used to examine peptide penetration into the polymer phase. The release of sorbed peptide from leuprolide-PLGA particles was evaluated both in vitro (PBST+0.02% sodium azide, 37°C) and in vivo (male Sprague–Dawley rats). We found that when the PLGA-COOH chains are sufficiently mobilized, therapeutic peptides not only bind at the surface, a common belief to date, but also can be internalized and distributed throughout the polymer phase at physiological temperature forming a salt with low-molecular weight PLGA-COOH. Importantly, absorption of leuprolide into low MW PLGA-COOH particles yielded ~17wt.% leuprolide loading in the polymer (i.e., ~70% of PLGA-COOH acids occupied), and the absorbed peptide was released from the polymer for >2weeks in a controlled fashion in vitro and as indicated by sustained testosterone suppression in male Sprague–Dawley rats. This new approach, which bypasses the traditional encapsulation method and associated production cost, opens up the potential for facile production of low-cost controlled-release injectable depots for leuprolide and related peptides.