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Biophysical Analysis of the Molecular Interactions between Polysaccharides and Mucin

Menchicchi, B., Fuenzalida, J. P., Hensel, A., Swamy, M. J., David, L., Rochas, C., Goycoolea, F. M.
Biomacromolecules 2015 v.16 no.3 pp. 924-935
Streptococcus thermophilus, X-radiation, alginates, bioavailability, dextran, drugs, exopolysaccharides, hydrodynamics, mucins, mucosa, polymers, viscosity
Mucoadhesive materials adhere persistently to mucosal surfaces. A mucoadhesive delivery system could therefore facilitate the controlled release of drugs and optimize their bioavailability in mucosal tissues. Polysaccharides are the most versatile class of natural polymers for transmucosal drug delivery. We used microviscosimetry to explore the mucoadhesion of a library of polysaccharide families with diverse structural characteristics as a first step toward the rational design of mucoadhesive polysaccharide-based nanoformulations. Here we show that the magnitude of deviation between the viscosity of mixed polysaccharide–mucin solutions and the corresponding individual stock solutions can indicate underlying molecular interactions. We found that nonlinear monotonic curves predicted a correlation between the magnitude of interaction and the ability of polysaccharide coils to contract in the presence of salt (i.e., chain flexibility). Charge-neutral polysaccharides such as dextran and Streptococcus thermophilus exopolysaccharide did not interact with mucin. Synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) data supported the previously described structural features of mucin. Furthermore, high-q scattering data (i.e., sensitive to smaller scales) revealed that when mucin is in dilute solution (presumably in an extended conformation) in the presence of low-Mw alginate, its structure resembles that observed at higher concentrations in the absence of alginate. This effect was less pronounced in the case of high-Mw alginate, but the latter influenced the bulk properties of mucin–alginate mixtures (e.g., hydrodynamic radius and relative viscosity) more prominently than its low-Mw counterpart.