Investigation of liquid sodium alginates as mucoadhesive bandages coating the oesophageal mucosa and protecting it from gastric reflux
Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD), is generally caused by excess gastric reflux back to the oesophagus where damage to the mucosa results in injury. GORD is a very common disease in western countries, more than a quarter of western people are suffering from this disease and there is a trend that the percentage population in eastern countries who are diagnosed as GORD is increasing. GORD and its complications damage the quality of life and can lead to serious oesophageal diseases including Barrett’s disease and oesophageal carcinoma. Sodium alginate dissolved in water forms a viscous liquid and can coat on oesophageal mucosa for a period of time. In this study the ability of the liquid alginate to adhere to the oesophageal mucosa was investigated and the factors that affect this retention were examined. The potential of this liquid alginate as a drug delivery vehicle to extend the duration of contact with the oesophageal mucosa was confirmed by this study. The capacity of an alginate coating to retard acid and pepsin diffusion, the two main aggressive factors in gastric reflux, was investigated. A significant reduction in acid and pepsin diffusion by alginate gel layer was demonstrated in this project, indicating that alginate has great potential to protect against damage caused by acidic reflux. A novel method was introduced using an independent score system to assess the protection of oesophageal tissue by a coating of liquid alginate using microscopy as a technique. This technique demonstrated that alginate can protect the oesophageal epithelial tissue from the damage caused by gastric acid and pepsin. Many techniques were used in this study. The experimental results suggested that liquid sodium alginate is a very promising candidate in treating local oesophageal diseases through forming a coating on the oesophageal mucosal surface, retarding the diffusion of components of gastric refluxate and thus reducing the contact of these noxious factors with the epithelium and minimising injury.