Cytosine-functionalized bioinspired hydrogels for ocular delivery of antioxidant transferulic acid†
Contact lenses (CLs) are being pointed out as feasible platforms for controlled delivery of ophthalmic drugs. Bioinspired strategies may endow CLs with affinity for a given drug by mimicking its physiological receptor using adequate functional monomers and tuning their conformation in the space through the molecular imprinting technology. However, there are some active substances, such as efficient antioxidant agents, that cannot be used as templates because they degrade during polymerization or even hinder the polymerization itself. Therefore, the development of CLs able to sustain the release of antioxidants for the prevention and/or treatment of several age-related and light-induced eye diseases has not been explored yet. Searching for an alternative bioinspired strategy, the present work relies on the fact that some drugs owe their therapeutic action to their ability to interact with nucleotides that build up DNA and RNA. Thus, the aim of this work was to design hydrogels functionalized with the nitrogenous base cytosine for the controlled uptake and release of transferulic acid (TA) having a complementary chemical structure in terms of hydrogen bonding and π–π stacking ability. Hydrogels were prepared from mixtures of 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA), glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) and ethyleneglycolphenylether methacrylate (EGPEM). GMA was used as a bridge to immobilize cytosine after hydrogel synthesis, while EGPEM was added to reinforce hydrophobic interactions with TA. The hydrogels were characterized in terms of suitability to be used as CLs (swelling, light transmission, mechanical properties, biocompatibility) and capability to host TA and sustain its release in lachrymal fluid while maintaining the antioxidant activity. Relevantly, the bioinspired CLs favored TA accumulation in cornea and sclera tissues.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Biomimetic Therapeutics