Preactivated thiolated glycogen as mucoadhesive polymer for drug delivery

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The purpose of this study was to synthesize and characterize a novel thiolated glycogen, so-named S-preactivated thiolated glycogen, as a mucosal drug delivery systems and the assessment of its mucoadhesive properties. In this regard, glycogen–cysteine and glycogen-cysteine-2-mercaptonicotinic acid conjugates were synthesized. Glycogen was activated by an oxidative ring opening with sodium periodate resulting in reactive aldehyde groups to which cysteine was bound via reductive amination. The obtained thiolated polymer displayed 2203.09 ± 200 μmol thiol groups per gram polymer. In a second step, the thiol moieties of thiolated glycogen were protected by disulfide bond formation with the thiolated aromatic residue 2-mercaptonicotinic acid (2MNA). In vitro screening of mucoadhesive properties was performed on porcine intestinal mucosa using different methods. In particular, in terms of rheology investigations of mucus/polymer mixtures, the S-preactivated thiolated glycogen showed a 4.7-fold increase in dynamic viscosity over a time period of 5 h, in comparison to mucus/Simulated Intestinal Fluid control. The S-preactivated polymer remained attached on freshly excised porcine mucosa for 45 h. Analogous results were obtained with tensile studies demonstrating a 2.7-fold increase in maximum detachment force and 3.1- fold increase in total work of adhesion for the S-preactivated polymer compared to unmodified glycogen. Moreover, water-uptake studies showed an over 4 h continuing weight gain for the S-preactivated polymer, whereas disintegration took place for the unmodified polymer within the first hour. Furthermore, even in the highest tested concentration of 2 mg/ml the new conjugates did not show any cytotoxicity on Caco-2 cell monolayer using an MTT assay. According to these results, S-preactivated glycogen represents a promising type of mucoadhesive polymers useful for the development of various mucosal drug delivery systems.

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