A new hyaluronic acid pH sensitive derivative obtained by ATRP for potential oral administration of proteins.

Research paper by Calogero C Fiorica, Giovanna G Pitarresi, Fabio Salvatore FS Palumbo, Mauro M Di Stefano, Filippo F Calascibetta, Gaetano G Giammona

Indexed on: 26 Sep '13Published on: 26 Sep '13Published in: International Journal of Pharmaceutics


Atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) has been successfully employed to obtain a new derivative of hyaluronic acid (HA) able to change its solubility as a function of external pH and then to be potentially useful for intestinal release of bioactive molecules, included enzymes and proteins. In particular, a macroinitiator has been prepared by linking 2-bromo-2-methypropionic acid (BMP) to the amino groups of ethylenediamino derivative of tetrabutyl ammonium salt of HA (HA-TBA-EDA). This macroinititor, named HA-TBA-EDA-BMP has been used for the ATRP of sodium methacrylate (MANa) using a complex of Cu(I) and 2,2'-bipyridyl (Byp) as a catalyst. The resulting copolymer, named HA-EDA-BMP-MANa, has been characterized by (1)H NMR and size exclusion chromatography (SEC) analyses. A turbidimetric analysis has showed its pH sensitive behavior, being insoluble in simulated gastric fluid but soluble when pH increases more than 2.5. To confirm the ability of HA-EDA-BMP-MANa in protecting peptides or proteins from denaturation in acidic medium, α-chymotrypsin has been chosen as a model of protein molecule and its activity has been evaluated after entrapment into HA-EDA-BMP-MANa chains and treatment under simulated gastric conditions. Finally, cell compatibility has been evaluated by performing a MTS assay on murine dermal fibroblasts cultured with HA-EDA-BMP-MANa solutions.