Spray-congealed solid lipid microparticles as a new tool for the controlled release of bisphosphonates from a calcium phosphate bone cement
The aim of this work was to develop an innovative drug delivery system potentially useful for the local delivery of Bisphosphonates to bone tissue. We propose the use of Solid Lipid Microparticles (MPs), up to now mainly used for oral and topical drug delivery, as carrier for bisphosphonates due to the favourable biocompatibility and lower toxicity of the lipids compared with many polymers. The delivery platform consisted of a biomimetic α-tricalcium phosphate-gelatin cement (CPC) enriched with alendronate loaded MPs (MPs-AL) produced by the spray congealing technology. Alendronate direct addition to cement composition is limited since Alendronate is able to sequester calcium from calcium phosphates, thus preventing the setting of the cements. At variance, this approach permitted to load a relatively high amount of the drug on the CPC and allowed the controlled release of the highly water soluble alendronate. A Design of Experiment (DoE) was employed for the screening of the effects of the formulation variables related to the presence of unloaded microparticle (MPs) on the cement most important mechanical properties. Then, MPs loaded with 10% w/w of alendronate were produced using five different carriers (Stearic Acid, Stearilic Alcohol, Cutina HR, Tristearin and Precirol ATO5). All MPs-AL exhibited a spherical shape, encapsulation efficiency higher than 90% and prevalent particle size ranging from 100 to 150 μm. Solid state characterization (DSC, HSM and X-ray powder diffraction) demonstrated that encapsulation of alendronate into MPs did not alter its crystal structure. MPs-AL addition to the cement provoked a modest lengthening of the setting times and of the hardening reaction leading to the complete transformation of α-tricalcium phosphate into calcium-deficient hydroxyapatite, without significantly affect the cement mechanical properties. Moreover, the results of in vitro AL release study performed on cements enriched with MPs-AL showed that the system allows a controlled release of the drug over time.