From Droplets to Drug Delivery: Retinoic Acid Dosing into Polycaprolactone (PCL) Microparticles Using a Lab-on-a-Chip Device




Hangad, Maria V.

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Production of drug-releasing particles using microfluidic platforms have increasingly been adapted by numerous industries due to its customizability in design, robust manufacturability, and cost-effectiveness. Here we make polycaprolactone (PCL) microparticles loaded with all-trans retinoic acid (atRA) using a PDMS-based microfluidic device. Retinoic acid is a small molecule derivative of Vitamin A that mediates cell differentiation, growth, or proliferation in biological systems. Adapted from previous work, our device employs a flow-focusing geometry to achieve a jetting regime producing o/w (oil-in-water) droplets that solidify into drug-releasing particles through solvent extraction. By changing amounts of reconstituted atRA in the oil phase solution consisting of PCL in dichloromethane (DCM), we determined that a drug loading concentration of 10 μg/mg (w/w, atRA/PCL) produced the smallest monodispersed particles with an average size of less than 20 µm and contains higher doses of drug at approximately 70% encapsulation efficiency. These properties of monodispersity, high drug encapsulation, and controlled release are essential to replicate in up-scale production and doing so enables for the utilization of microparticles on a commercial level in the fields of therapeutic drug delivery and neural tissue engineering.



all-trans retinoic acid, polycaprolactone, microparticles, materials chemistry, microfluidics, Drug delivery