Drug Eluting Hydrogels Design, Synthesis and Evaluation
Sammanfattning: Hydrogels have successfully proved themselves useful for drug delivery applications and several delivery routes have been developed over the years. The particular interest in this work was to design, synthesise and evaluate in situ forming drug eluting hydrogels, which have the potential to ameliorate the healing of cardiovascular diseases.With this aim the anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant drugs rapamycin (Ra) and dexamethasone (Dex) were made water soluble by conjugation with polyethylene glycol (PEG). Ra was attached pendant from the terminal of PEGs while Dex was incorporated into dendritic structures grown from PEGs. These conjugates were further crosslinked into hydrogels by either conjugate or thiol-ene addition. The gel degradation was tuned to take between 5 and 27 days by using gel building block combinations that induced either 2 or 4 hydrolytically labile bonds per crosslink or by varying the number of crosslinking sites of the building blocks. The use of thiol-ene addition prolonged the degradation time nearly seven folded compared to conjugate addition as a more stable crosslink was formed.Two different formulations for gelling via conjugate addition were used (acrylate-thiol or vinyl sulphone-thiol) to deliver Ra, which was carried by either a 4- or 2-armed PEG. The elution kinetic for the respective gel formulation was of zero order during 15 and 19 days of gel degradation. In addition, Ra was PEGylated via esters, with a distance of either one or two carbons to a nearby thio-ether functionality. The difference in ester conjugation resulted in a slight but significant change in drug-PEG conjugate stability, which was mirrored by the increased time to reach the half amount of total drug elution; from 9.3 to 10.2 days and from 5.1 to 9.7 days for the two gel formulations, respectively. Dexamethasone was incorporated via an ester into dendrons of first and second generation pending from 2- and 4-armed PEGs at loadings of 2, 4 or 6 Dex molecules per carrier molecule. The resulting elution kinetic was of zero order during degradation periods of 5-27 days. Released Dex still possessed biological activity as determined by an in vitro cell assay.The novelties in this thesis are: (A) slow release of rapamycin obtained by covalent incorporation into hydrogels, (B) the use of unique PEG-based dendrimers to incorporate dexamethasone into a hydrogel and (C) zero order sustained release of dexamethasone at physiological pH.
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