Dual release kinetics in a single dosage from core–shell hydrogel scaffolds†
The development of drug delivery systems with microencapsulated therapeutic agents is a promising approach to the sustained and controlled delivery of various drug molecules. The incorporation of dual release kinetics to such delivery devices further adds to their applicability. Herein, novel core–shell scaffolds composed of sodium deoxycholate and trishydroxymethylaminomethane (NaDC–Tris) have been developed with the aim of delivering two different drugs with variable release rates using the same delivery vehicle. Data obtained from XRD studies, sol–gel transition temperature measurement, rheology and fluorescence studies of the core–shell systems indicate a significant alteration in the core and the shell microstructural properties in a given system as compared to the pure hydrogels of identical compositions. The release of the model drugs Fluorescein (FL) and Rhodamine B (RhB) from the shell and the core, respectively, of the two core–shell designs studied exhibited distinctly different release kinetics. In the 25@250 core–shell system, 100% release of FL from the shell and 19% release of RhB from the core was observed within the first 5 hours, while 24.5 hours was required for the complete release of RhB from the core. For the 100@250 system, similar behaviour was observed with varied release rates and a sigmoidal increase in the core release rate upon disappearance from the shell. Cell viability studies suggested the minimal toxicity of the developed delivery vehicles towards NMuMG and WI-38 cells in the concentration range investigated. The reported core–shell systems composed of a single low molecular weight gelator with dual release kinetics may be designed as per the desired application for the consecutive release of therapeutic agents as required, as well as combination therapy commonly used to treat diseases such as diabetes and cancer.