Effects of process and formulation parameters on characteristics and internal morphology of poly(d,l-lactide-co-glycolide) microspheres formed by the solvent evaporation method.Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 2008 Feb; 68(2):214-23.EJ
Taking ABT627 as a hydrophobic model drug, poly-(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microspheres were prepared by an emulsion solvent evaporation method. Various process parameters, such as continuous phase/dispersed phase (CP/DP) ratio, polymer concentration, initial drug loading, polyvinyl alcohol concentration and pH, on the characteristics of microspheres and in vitro drug release pattern of ABT627 were investigated. Internal morphology of the microspheres was observed with scanning electron microscopy by stereological method. CP/DP is a critical factor in preparing microspheres and drug loading increased significantly with increasing CP/DP ratios accompanied by a remarkably decreased burst release. At CP/DP ratio 20, microspheres with a core-shell structure were formed and the internal porosity of the microspheres decreased with increasing CP/DP ratio. Increase in PLGA concentration led to increased particle sizes and decreased drug release rates. ABT627 release rate increased considerably with increasing PVA concentrations in the continuous phase from 0.1% to 0.5%. The maximum solubility of ABT627 in PLGA was approximately 30%, under which ABT627 was dispersed in PLGA matrix in a molecular state. Increase in initial drug loading had no significant influence on particle size, drug encapsulation efficiency, burst release and internal morphology. However, drug release rate decreased at higher drug loading. Independent of process parameters, ABT627 was slowly released from the PLGA microspheres over 30 days, by a combination of diffusion and polymer degradation. During the first 13 days, ABT627 was mainly released by the mechanism of diffusion demonstrated by the unchanged internal morphology. In contrast, a core-shell structure of the microspheres was observed after being incubated in the release medium for 17 days, independent of drug loading, implying that the ABT627/PLGA microspheres degraded by autocatalytic effect, starting from inside of the matrix. In conclusion, hydrophobic drug release from the PLGA microspheres is mainly dependent on the internal morphology and drug distribution state in the microspheres.