Using two-fluid nozzle for spray freeze drying to produce porous powder formulation of naked siRNA for inhalation

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Spray freeze drying is an attractive technology to produce powder formulation for inhalation. It can be used to generate large porous particles which tend to aerosolize efficiently and do not aggregate readily. It also avoids material to be exposed to elevated temperature. In this study, we reported the use of two-fluid nozzle to produce spray freeze dried powder of small interfering RNA (siRNA). The effect of atomization gas flow rate and liquid feed rate were inspected initially using herring sperm DNA (hsDNA) as nucleic acid model. The atomization gas flow rate was found to have a major impact on the aerosol properties. The higher the atomization gas flow rate, the smaller the particle size, the higher the fine particle fraction (FPF). In contrast, the liquid feed rate had very minor effect. Subsequently, spray freeze dried siRNA powder was produced at various atomization gas flow rates. The particles produced were highly porous as examined with the scanning electron microscopy, and the structural integrity of the siRNA was demonstrated with gel electrophoresis. The gene-silencing effect of the siRNA was also successfully preserved in vitro. The best performing siRNA formulation was prepared at the highest atomization gas flow rate investigated with a moderate FPF of 30%. However, this was significantly lower than that obtained with the corresponding hsDNA counterparts (FPF ˜57%). A direct comparison between the hsDNA and siRNA formulations revealed that the former exhibited a lower density, hence a smaller aerodynamic diameter despite similar geometric size.

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