Positively charged polyethylenimines enhance nasal absorption of the negatively charged drug, low molecular weight heparin

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This study tests the hypothesis that positively charged polyethylenimines (PEIs) enhance nasal absorption of low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) by reducing the negative surface charge of the drug molecule. Physical interactions between PEIs and LMWH were studied by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, particle size analysis, conductivity measurements, zeta potential analysis, and azure A assay. The efficacy of PEIs in enhancing nasal absorption of LMWH was studied by administering LMWH formulated with PEI into the nose of anesthetized rats and monitoring drug absorption by measuring plasma anti-factor Xa activity. The metabolic stability of LMWH was evaluated by incubating the drug in rat nasal mucosal homogenates. FTIR spectra of the LMWH–PEI formulation showed a shift in peak position compared to LMWH or PEI alone. Decreases in conductivity, zeta potential and the amount of free LMWH in the PEI–LMWH formulation, as revealed by azure A assay, suggest that PEIs possibly neutralize the negative surface charge of LMWH. The efficacy of PEI in enhancing the bioavailability of nasally administered LMWH can be ranked as PEI-1000 kDa≥PEI-750 kDa>PEI-25 kDa. When PEI-1000 kDa was used at a concentration of 0.25%, there was a 4-fold increase in both the absolute and relative bioavailabilities of LMWH compared to the control formulation. Overall, these results indicate that polyethylenimines can be used as potential carriers for nasally administered LMWHs.

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