Novel inulin-based mucoadhesive micelles loaded with corticosteroids as potential transcorneal permeation enhancers

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In this work a new copolymer of inulin (INU) derivatized with ethylendiamine (EDA) and retinoic acid (RA), named INU-EDA-RA, was synthetized, characterized and employed to produce micelles as carriers for topical administration of corticosteroids for the potential treatment of diseases of posterior eye segment. Spectroscopic analysis confirmed a molar derivatization degree of 11.30 and 4.30% in EDA and RA, respectively. INU-EDA-RA micelles are capable of strong mucoadhesive interactions which result time-independent and stable over time but concentration depending. Moreover micelles are able to encapsulate efficiently from 3 to 13% (w/w) of lipophilic drugs, as dexamethasone, triamcinolone and triamcinolone acetonide. Drug loaded micelles are stable for three months when stored as freeze-dried powders and able to release high amount of drug when compared to drug dissolution profiles from suspensions. Moreover, drug loaded micelles are compatible with different ocular cell lines that are also able to internalize fluorescent micelles. Finally, drug loaded micelles enhance drug fluxes and permeability coefficients across corneal epithelial cells, thus reducing drug loss due to retention inside the cells.

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