Biodegradable polymeric microspheres with “open/closed” pores for sustained release of human growth hormone

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A new approach for attaining sustained release of protein is introduced, involving a pore-closing process of preformed porous PLGA microspheres. Highly porous biodegradable poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microspheres were fabricated by a single water-in-oil emulsion solvent evaporation technique using Pluronic F127 as an extractable porogen. Recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) was incorporated into porous microspheres by a simple solution dipping method. For their controlled release, porous microspheres containing hGH were treated with water-miscible solvents in aqueous phase for production of pore-closed microspheres. These microspheres showed sustained release patterns over an extended period; however, the drug loading efficiency was extremely low. To overcome the drug loading problem, the pore-closing process was performed in an ethanol vapor phase using a fluidized bed reactor. The resultant pore-closed microspheres exhibited high protein loading amount as well as sustained rhGH release profiles. Also, the released rhGH exhibited structural integrity after the treatment.

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