The targeting of corticosteroids to inflamed tissues
This project, following the line of investigation started by other workers, was designed to study the use of microspheres to deliver corticosteroids to inflamed tissues by both the oral and intravenous routes. Hydrocortisone (HC)-loaded albumin microspheres were prepared by three different methods, by direct incorporation of HC within the particles, by indirect incorporation of HC by the enzymatic conversion of hydrocortisone-21-phosphate (H-21-P) to HC within the particles, and by the adsorption of HC onto the surface. HC was also loaded with PLA microspheres. The level of corticosteriod loading and in vitro release from microspheres was determined by HPLC analysis. A reversed-phase, ion-pairing HPLC method was developed to simultaneously measure both HC and H-21-P. The highest level of corticosteroid loading was achieved using the incorporation of H-21-P with enzymatic conversion to HC method. However, HPLC analysis showed only 5% of the incorporated steroid was HC. In vitro release rates of steroid from albumin microspheres showed >95% of incorporated steroid was released within 2 hours of dissolution. Increasing the protein:steroid ratio, and the temperature and duration of microsphere stabilization, had little effect on prolonging drug release. In vivo studies, using the carrageenan-induced rat hind-paw model of inflammation, indicated steroid-incorporated microspheres administered both orally and intraperitoneally were not therapeutically advantageous when compared to equivalent free steroid doses.