Oral uptake and distribution of microspheres
There is a growing body of experimental evidence suggesting that the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) may be penetrated by sub-micron sized polymeric particles which have the capacity to deliver therapeutic compounds. We investigated this, initially with Fluoresbrite™ carboxylate latex microspheres (0.87 m diameter) which were administered orally to rats. Microsphere numbers within blood samples were then quantified using fluorescence microscopy or FACS technology. These studies were prone to quantitative error, but indicated that increased microsphere translocation occurred if particles were administered in conjunction with large volumes of hypotonic liquid, and that uptake was very rapid. Test particles were detected in blood, only a few minutes after dosing. To improve quantification, GPC technology was adopted. 0.22 m latex particles were found to accumulate in greatest numbers within the Mononuclear phagocyte system tissues after gavage. Again translocation was rapid. The ability of test particles to leave the intestinal lumen and access systemic compartments was found to be highly dependent on their size and hydrophobicity, determined by hydrophobic interaction chromatography. Considerably lower numbers of 0.97 m diameter latex microspheres were detectable within extra-intestinal tissue locations after gavage. Histological studies showed that Fluoresbrite™ microspheres accumulate within the liver, spleen, Mesenteric lymph node and vasculature of rats after oral administration. Fluorescent particles were observed in both the Peyer's patches (PPs), and non lymphoid regions of rat intestinal mucosa after gavage, conductive to the acceptance that more than one mechanism of particle absorption may operate.