Preparation and characterization of PEM-coated alginate microgels for controlled release of protein.
ABSTRACT In this study, calcium-alginate microgels coated with a polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) were fabricated as a controlled-release system. This system was constructed via an electrostatic droplet generation technique followed by a layer-by-layer (LbL) self-assembly technique. The electrostatic droplet generation technique was reported as an easy method of preparing microgels, due to their mild preparation conditions and ability to preserve the biological activity of the encapsulated drugs. With the LbL self-assembly technique, the PEM could be fabricated on the microgels attributed to the electrostatic attraction between positive-charged chitosan (Chi) and negative-charged dextran sulfate (Dex). The properties of the prepared microgels were investigated using dynamic laser scattering (DLS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrum and zeta potential analyzer. In vitro release study indicated that the initial burst release of the bovine serum albumin (BSA) from PEM-coated microgels was less compared to the uncoated microgels (19% versus 31% in 24 h). In addition, the sustained release of BSA from the PEM-coated microgels was recorded up to 1 month without any damage to BSA integrity. Thus, our results demonstrated that the PEM-coated microgels not only prolonged the release time, but also relieved the initial burst problem to some degree and preserved the biological activity of the encapsulated drugs. Moreover, the release rate of BSA could be regulated by controlling the number of deposited layers. In conclusion, this study presented an easy yet effective method for the controlled, sustained release of biological macromolecules.