Gelatin content governs hydration induced structural changes in silica-gelatin hybrid aerogels – Implications in drug delivery

Mónika Kéri, Attila Forgács, Vanda Papp, István Bányai, Péter Veres, Adél Len, Zoltán Dudás, István Fábián, József Kalmár

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Abstract

Silica-gelatin hybrid aerogels of varying gelatin content (from 4 wt.% to 24 wt.%) can be conveniently impregnated with hydrophobic active agents (e.g. ibuprofen, ketoprofen) in supercritical CO2 and used as drug delivery systems. Contrast variation neutron scattering (SANS) experiments show the molecular level hybridization of the silica and the gelatin components of the aerogel carriers. The active agents are amorphous, and homogeneously dispersed in these porous, hybrid matrices. Importantly, both fast and retarded drug release can be achieved with silica-gelatin hybrid aerogels, and the kinetics of drug release is governed by the gelatin content of the carrier. In this paper, for the first time, a molecular level explanation is given for the strong correlation between the composition and the functionality of a family of aerogel based drug delivery systems. Characterization of the wet aerogels by SANS and by NMR diffusiometry, cryoporometry and relaxometry revealed that the different hydration mechanisms of the aerogels are responsible for the broad spectrum of release kinetics. Low-gelatin (4–11 wt.%) aerogels retain their open-porous structure in water, thus rapid matrix erosion dictates fast drug release from these carriers. In contrast to this, wet aerogels of high gelatin content (18–24 wt.%) show well pronounced hydrogel-like characteristics, and a wide gradual transition zone forms in the solid-liquid interface. The extensive swelling of the high-gelatin hybrid backbone results in the collapse of the open porous structure, that limits mass transport towards the release medium, resulting in slower, diffusion controlled drug release. Statement of Significance: Developing new drug delivery systems is a key aspect of pharmaceutical research. Supercritically dried mesoporous aerogels are ideal carriers for small molecular weight drugs due to their open porous structures and large specific surface areas. Hybrid silica-gelatin aerogels can display both fast and retarded drug release properties based on the gelatin contents of their backbones. The structural characterization of the aerogels by SANS and by NMR diffusiometry, cryoporometry and relaxometry revealed that the different hydration mechanisms of the hybrid backbones are responsible for the broad spectrum of release kinetics. The molecular level understanding of the functionality of these hybrid inorganic-biopolymer drug delivery systems facilitates the realization of quality-by-design in this research field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-145
Number of pages15
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Volume105
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2020

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Keywords

  • Aerogel
  • Hydration
  • Mechanism of drug release
  • NMR spectroscopy
  • SANS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology

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