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Drug Release from Hydrogel: A New Understanding of Transport Phenomena

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In tissue engineering, i.e., in combined advanced technologies to replace damaged or missing parts of living tissues, emerging strategies strongly point toward the use of hydrogels also for their ability of being vehicles for local controlled drug delivery. The investigation of drug release mechanisms in such matrices thus plays a key role in the design of smart system but literature is still very controversial on theoretical interpretations and understanding of available data. In this framework we used the new HRMAS-NMR DOSY technique to study the diffusive motions of sodium fluorescein, a drug mimetic small chromophoric molecule, loaded in a promising hydrogel developed for tissue engineering. While fluorescein behavior in water was as expected, also showing aggregation from mid concentrations, data collected within hydrogel samples surprisingly showed no aggregation and diffusion coefficients were always higher with respect to aqueous solution. Furthermore, the promotion of diffusion increased along with fluorescein concentration. The proportion of this effect was directly linked to hydrogel mesh size, thus carrying intrinsic novelty, but also complexity, and suggesting that not only strictly hydrodynamic effects should be considered but also electrostatic interactions between polymer chains and drug molecules might be key players in avoiding fluorescein aggregation and also affecting diffusivity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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  • Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology (JBN) is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal providing broad coverage in all research areas focused on the applications of nanotechnology in medicine, drug delivery systems, infectious disease, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, and all other related fields of life sciences.
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