Radix Ophiopogonis polysaccharide (ROP), a highly hydrophilic macromolecule, has a unique anti-ischemic action in the myocardium. One of the main problems with its use is its relatively short half-life in vivo. To solve this problem, injectable long-acting drug delivery systems, which combine mono-PEGylation (PEG, polyethylene glycol) with the in situ formation of poly(d,l-lactide-co-glycolide) copolymer (PLGA) depots, were tested in this study.
Through a moderate coupling reaction between 20 kDa amino-terminated methoxy-PEG and excessive ROP with activated hydroxyls, a long-circulating and bioactive mono-PEGylated ROP was prepared and characterized. A reasonable and applicable range of PLGA formulations loaded with the mono-PEGylated ROP were prepared, characterized, and evaluated in vivo.
Relative to ROP, the half-life of which was only 0.5 hours, the conjugate alone, following subcutaneous administration, showed markedly prolonged retention in the systemic circulation, with a mean residence time in vivo of approximately 2.76 days. In combination with in situ-forming PLGA depots, the residence time of the conjugate in vivo was prolonged further. In particular, a long-lasting and steady plasma exposure for nearly a month was achieved by the formulation comprising 40% 30 kDa PLGA in N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone.
Long-lasting and steady drug exposure could be achieved using mono-PEGylation in combination with in situ formation of PLGA depots. Such a combination with ROP would be promising for long-term prophylaxis and/or treatment of myocardial ischemia. For high-dose and highly hydrophilic macromolecular drugs like ROP, more than one preparation technology might be needed to achieve week-long or month-long delivery per dosing.