Mucoadhesive drug therapy destined for localized drug treatment is gaining increasing importance in today’s drug development. Chitosan, due to its known biodegradability, bioadhesiveness and excellent safety profile offers means to improve mucosal drug therapy. We have used chitosan as mucoadhesive polymer to develop liposomes able to ensure prolonged residence time at vaginal site. Two types of mucoadhesive liposomes, namely the chitosan-coated liposomes and chitosan-containing liposomes, where chitosan is both embedded and surface-available, were made of soy phosphatidylcholine with entrapped fluorescence markers of two molecular weights, FITC-dextran 4000 and 20,000, respectively. Both liposomal types were characterized for their size distribution, zeta potential, entrapment efficiency and the in vitro release profile, and compared to plain liposomes. The proof of chitosan being both surface-available as well as embedded into the liposomes in the chitosan-containing liposomes was found. The capability of the surface-available chitosan to interact with the model porcine mucin was confirmed for both chitosan-containing and chitosan-coated liposomes implying potential mucoadhesive behavior. Chitosan-containing liposomes were shown to be superior in respect to the simplicity of preparation, FITC-dextran load, mucoadhesiveness and in vitro release and are expected to ensure prolonged residence time on the vaginal mucosa providing localized sustained release of entrapped model substances.
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