Poly(ethylene glycol)-radix Ophiopogonis polysaccharide conjugates: preparation, characterization, pharmacokinetics and in vitro bioactivity.
ABSTRACT Radix Ophiopogonis polysaccharide (ROP), a natural graminan-type fructan with Mw of ∼5kDa, had been found to have an excellent anti-myocardial ischemic activity. However, its rapid renal excretion following administration remarkably limits its efficacy and clinical use, which makes necessary the development of an effective delivery system. In this article, the feasibility of PEGylation to solve this problem was examined. A moderate coupling reaction between the hydroxyl-activated ROP and the amino-terminated mPEG was chosen to PEGylate ROP. Five different mPEG-ROP conjugates (with mPEG of molecular mass 2, 5 or 20kDa) were prepared, purified, characterized and evaluated in pharmacokinetics and in vitro bioactivity. Results showed that only when the apparent molecular weight of the conjugate approached to a certain value, would its plasma elimination reduce abruptly. In general, the conjugation caused the reduction in the bioactivity of ROP; however, well-preserved bioactivity was observed when the grafting degree of the conjugate was lower. Among the five conjugates studied, the one with an average 1.3 mPEG (20kDa) residues per single ROP was found to be satisfactory both in plasma retention and in bioactivity. It had a 47.4-fold increased elimination half-life and preserved approximately 74% of the bioactivity of ROP; moreover, the decrease in bioactivity is not significant. These findings demonstrate that PEGylation would be a promising approach for improving the clinical efficacy of ROP by prolonged retention in plasma.