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Electrospray Encapsulation of Toll-Like Receptor Agonist Resiquimod in Polymer Microparticles for the Treatment of Visceral Leishmaniasis

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Journal article

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Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by the intracellular protozoan, Leishmania. A current treatment for cutaneous leishmaniasis involves the delivery of imidazoquinolines via a topical cream. However, there are no parenteral formulations of imidazoquinolines for the most deadly version of the disease, visceral leishmaniasis. This work investigates the use of electrospray to encapsulate the imidazoquinoline adjuvant resiquimod in acid sensitive microparticles composed of acetalated dextran Ac-DEX or Ac-DEXTween blends. The particles were characterized and tested both in vitro and in vivo. Solutions of Ac-DEX and resiquimod in ethanol were electrosprayed to generate approximately 2 m Ac-DEX particles containing resiquimod with an encapsulation efficiency of 85. To prevent particle aggregation, blends of Ac-DEX with Tween 20 and Tween 80 were investigated. Tween 80 was then blended with the Ac-DEX at 10 ww of total polymer and particles containing resiquimod were formed via electrospray with encapsulation efficiencies between 40 and 60. In vitro release profiles of resiquimod from Ac-DEXTween 80 particles exhibited the acid-sensitive nature of Ac-DEX, with 100 drug release after 8 h at pH 5 phagosomal pH and after 48 h at pH 7.4 physiological pH. Treatment with Ac- DEXTween 80 particles elicited significantly greater immune response in RAW macrophages over free drug. When injected intravenously into mice inoculated with Leishmania, parasite load reduced significantly in the bone marrow compared to blank particles and phosphate-buffered saline controls. Overall, electrospray appears to offer an elegant, scalable way to encapsulate adjuvant into an acid sensitive delivery vehicle for use in treating visceral leishmaniasis.

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  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Polymer Chemistry
  • Containers and Packaging

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