A novel pH-responsive hydrogel based on natural polysaccharides for controlled release of protein drugs
A biocompatible and biodegradable hydrogel based on a natural polysaccharide was prepared and characterized to evaluate its applicability as an effective carrier for controlled protein delivery. The hydrogel exhibited significant pH-sensitivity, which was favorable for protein release in a simulated intestinal medium. It is capable of incorporating considerable amounts of protein drugs (encapsulation efficiency up to 97.6 wt%) following a protein-friendly preparation procedure. It was shown that the hydrogel is able to release two entrapped model protein drugs (bovine serum albumin and lysozyme) in a controlled manner with full preservation of protein stability and enzymatic activity for lysozyme. Moreover, the insulin-loaded hydrogel was effective in reducing blood glucose level in diabetic animal models. Importantly, the hydrogel showed no evidence of cytotoxicity in vitro and in vivo, rather, it is biodegradable. The synthesized hydrogel shows favorable features as a promising delivery carrier candidate for targeted delivery of protein drugs to specific sites.