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Leite E, Gil MH, Sousa HD. {No Title}. Abstract
Duarte AR, Ferreira AS, Barreiros S, Cabrita E, Reis RL, Paiva A. {A comparison between pure active pharmaceutical ingredients and therapeutic deep eutectic solvents: Solubility and permeability studies}. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics. 2017;114:296-304. Abstractpdf

THEDES, so called therapeutic deep eutectic solvents are here defined as a mixture of two components, which at a particular molar composition become liquid at room temperature and in which one of them is an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API). In this work, THEDES based on menthol complexed with three different APIs, ibuprofen (ibu), BA (BA) and phenylacetic acid (PA), were prepared. The interactions between the components that constitute the THEDES were studied by NMR, confirming that the eutectic system is formed by H-bonds between menthol and the API. The mobility of the THEDES components was studied by PFGSE NMR spectroscopy. It was determined that the self-diffusion of the species followed the same behavior as observed previously for ionic liquids, in which the components migrate via jumping between voids in the suprastructure created by punctual thermal fluctuations. The solubility and permeability of the systems in an isotonic solution was evaluated and a comparison with the pure APIs was established through diffusion and permeability studies carried out in a Franz cell. The solubility of the APIs when in the THEDES system can be improved up to 12 fold, namely for the system containing ibu. Furthermore, for this system the permeability was calculated to be 14 × 10−5 cm/s representing a 3 fold increase in comparison with the pure API. With the exception of the systems containing PA an increase in the solubility, coupled with an increase in permeability was observed. In this work, we hence demonstrate the efficiency of THEDES as a new formulation for the enhancement of the bioavailability of APIs by changing the physical state of the molecules from a solid dosage to a liquid system.

Fassini D, Duarte AR, Reis R, Silva T. {Bioinspiring Chondrosia reniformis (Nardo, 1847) Collagen-Based Hydrogel: A New Extraction Method to Obtain a Sticky and Self-Healing Collagenous Material}. Marine Drugs. 2017;15:380. Abstractpdf

Collagen is a natural and abundant polymer that serves multiple functions in both invertebrates and vertebrates. As collagen is the natural scaffolding for cells, collagen-based hydrogels are regarded as ideal materials for tissue engineering applications since they can mimic the natural cellular microenvironment. Chondrosia reniformis is a marine demosponge particularly rich in collagen, characterized by the presence of labile interfibrillar crosslinks similarly to those described in the mutable collagenous tissues (MCTs) of echinoderms. As a result single fibrils can be isolated using calcium-chelating and disulphide-reducing chemicals. In the present work we firstly describe a new extraction method that directly produces a highly hydrated hydrogel with interesting self-healing properties. The materials obtained were then biochemically and rheologically characterized. Our investigation has shown that the developed extraction procedure is able to extract collagen as well as other proteins and Glycosaminoglycans (GAG)-like molecules that give the collagenous hydrogel interesting and new rheological properties when compared to other described collagenous materials. The present work motivates further in-depth investigations towards the development of a new class of injectable collagenous hydrogels with tailored specifications.

Duarte RM, Varanda P, Reis RL, Duarte AR, Correia-Pinto J. {Biomaterials and Bioactive Agents in Spinal Fusion}. Tissue Engineering Part B: Reviews. 2017;23:ten.teb.2017.0072. Abstractpdf

Management of degenerative spine pathologies frequently leads to the need for spinal fusion (SF), where bone growth is induced toward stabilization of the interventioned spine. Autologous bone graft (ABG) remains the gold-standard inducer, whereas new bone graft substitutes attempt to achieve effective de novo bone formation and solid fusion. Limited fusion outcomes have driven motivation for more sophisticated and multidisciplinary solutions, involving new biomaterials and/or biologics, through innovative delivery platforms. The present review will analyze the most recent body of literature that is focused on new approaches for consistent bone fusion of spinal vertebrae, including the development of new biomaterials that pursue physical and chemical aptitudes; the delivery of growth factors (GF) to accelerate new bone formation; and the use of cells to improve functional bone development. Bone graft substitutes currently in clinical practice, such as demineralized bone matrix and ceramics, are still used as a starting point for the study of new bioactive agents. Polyesters such as polycaprolactone and polylactic acid arise as platforms for the development of composites, where a mineral element and cell/GF constitute the delivery system. Exciting fusion outcomes were obtained in several small and large animal models with these. On what regards bioactive agents, mesenchymal stem cells, preferentially derived from the bone marrow or adipose tissue, were studied in this context. Autologous and allogeneic approaches, as well as osteogenically differentiated cells, have been tested. These cell sources have further been genetically engineered for specific GF expression. Nevertheless, results on fusion efficacy with cells have been inconsistent. On the other hand, the delivery of GF (most commonly bone morphogenetic protein-2 [BMP-2]) has provided favorable outcomes. Complications related to burst release and dosing are still the target of research through the development of controlled release systems or alternative GF such as Nel-like molecule-1 (NELL-1), Oxysterols, or COMP-Ang1. Promising solutions with new biomaterial and GF compositions are becoming closer to the human patient, as these evidence high-fusion performance, while offering cost and safety advantages. The use of cells has not yet proved solid benefits, whereas a further understanding of cell behavior remains a challenge.

Salgado M, Santos F, Rodríguez-Rojo S, Reis RL, Duarte AR, Cocero MJ. {Development of barley and yeast $\beta$-glucan aerogels for drug delivery by supercritical fluids}. Journal of CO2 Utilization. 2017;22:262-9. Abstractpdf

Polysaccharide aerogels are a good alternative as carriers for drug delivery, since they allow high loading of the active compounds in matrices that are non-toxic, biocompatible and from a renewable feedstock. In this work, barley and yeast $\beta$-glucans aerogels were produced by gelation in aqueous solution, followed by solvent exchange and drying with supercritical CO2. First, viscoelastic properties and melting profile of the hydrogels were determined. Then, the obtained aerogels were analyzed regarding morphology, mechanical properties and behavior in physiological fluid. Both in the hydrogels and in the aerogels, big differences were observed between barley and yeast $\beta$-glucans due to their different chain structure and gelation behavior. Finally, impregnation of acetylsalicylic acid was performed at the same time as the drying of the alcogels with supercritical CO2. The release profile of the drug in PBS was analyzed in order to determine the mechanism governing the release from the $\beta$-glucan matrix. 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Silva JM, Rodrigues LC, Silva SS, Reis RL, Duarte AR. {Engineered tubular structures based on chitosan for tissue engineering applications}. Journal of Biomaterials Applications. 2017:088532821774469. Abstractpdf
Barros AA, Silva JM, Craveiro R, Paiva A, Reis RL, Duarte AR. {Green solvents for enhanced impregnation processes in biomedicine}. Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry. 2017;5:82-7. Abstractpdf

Supercritical carbon dioxide has been used as a green solvent due to their well-known potential in biomaterials impregnation. The versatility of this technique enables the loading of implants with Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients which present several benefits when compared with traditional techniques to impregnate active compounds. In this review, we have summarized the recent progresses achieved in supercritical CO2assisted impregnation of active compounds and therapeutic deep eutectic systems for biomedical applications.

Gertrudes A, Craveiro R, Eltayari Z, Reis RL, Paiva A, Duarte AR. {How Do Animals Survive Extreme Temperature Amplitudes? the Role of Natural Deep Eutectic Solvents}. ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering. 2017;5. Abstract

© 2017 American Chemical Society. Recent findings have reported the reason why some living beings are able to withstand the huge thermal amplitudes between winter and summer in their natural habitats. They are able to produce metabolites decreasing deeply the crystallization temperature of water, avoiding cell disrupture due to the presence of ice crystals and overcoming osmotic effects. In vitro, the possibility to cool living cells and tissues to cryogenic temperatures in the absence of ice can be achieved through a vitrification process. Vitrification has been suggested as an alternative approach to cryopreservation and could hereafter follow an interesting biomimetic perspective. The metabolites produced by these animals are mostly sugars, organic acids, choline derivatives, or urea. When combined at a particular composition, these compounds form a new liquid phase which has been defined as Natural Deep Eutectic Solvents (NADES). In this review, we relate the findings of different areas of knowledge from evolutive biology, cryobiology, and thermodynamics and give a perspective to the potential of NADES in the development of new cryoprotective agents.

Barros AA, Oliveira C, Ribeiro AJ, Autorino R, Reis RL, Duarte AR, Lima E. {In vivo assessment of a novel biodegradable ureteral stent}. World Journal of Urology. 2017. Abstract

© 2017 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature Purpose: To perform an in vivo assessment of a newly developed biodegradable ureteral stent (BUS) produced with natural-based polymers. Methods: The BUS is based on a patented technology combining the injection process with the use of supercritical fluid technology. Study was conducted at ICVS—University of Minho (Braga, Portugal) and a total of ten domestic pigs were used. In seven animals, the experimental BUS stent was inserted, whereas in the remaining a commercially available stent was used (6-Fr Biosoft ® duo stents, Porges Coloplast, Denmark). Post-stenting intravenous pyelogram was used to evaluate the degree of hydronephrosis. The in vivo stent degradation was measured as function of the weight loss. Moreover, the tensile properties of the BUS were tested during in vivo degradation. After maximum 10 days, animals were killed and necropsy was performed. Tissues were compared between the stented groups as well as between the non-stented contralateral ureters and stented ureters in each group. Biocompatibility was assessed by histopathological grading. Results: In all cases, the BUS was only visible during the first 24 h on X-ray, and in all cases the BUS was completely degraded in urine after 10 days, as confirmed on necropsy. During the degradation process, the mechanical properties of the BUS decreased, while the commercial ureteral stents remained constant. At all time-points after stent insertion, the level of hydronephrosis was minimal. Overall, animals stented with BUS had an average grade of hydronephrosis which was lower compared to the controls. The BUS showed better pathological conditions, and hence better biocompatibility when compared with commercial stents. Conclusions: Notwithstanding the limitations of the present study, the in vivo testing of our novel natural origin polymer-based BUS suggests this device to feature homogeneous degradation, good urine drainage, and high biocompatibility. Next steps will be to increase its stability, and to improve the radiopacity without compromising its degradation. Ultimately, clinical studies will be required to determine the safety and feasibility of its use in humans.

Barros AA, Oliveira C, Reis RL, Lima E, Duarte AR. {In Vitro and Ex Vivo Permeability Studies of Paclitaxel and Doxorubicin From Drug-Eluting Biodegradable Ureteral Stents}. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2017;106. Abstract

© 2017 American Pharmacists Association® A drug-eluting biodegradable ureteral stent (BUS) has been developed as a new approach for the treatment of urothelial tumors of upper urinary tract cancer. In a previous work, this system has proven to be a good carrier for anticancer drugs as a potential effective and sustainable intravesical drug delivery system. BUS has revealed to reduce in 75{%} the viability of human urothelial cancer cells (T24) after 72 h of contact and demonstrated minimal cytotoxic effect on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) which were used as a control. In this work, we studied the permeability of the anticancer drugs, such as paclitaxel and doxorubicin, alone or released from the BUS developed. We used 3 different membranes to study the permeability: polyethersulfone (PES) membrane, HUVECs cell monolayer, and an ex vivo porcine ureter. The ureter thickness was measured (864.51 $μ$m) and histological analysis was performed to confirm the integrity of urothelium. Permeability profiles were measured during 8 h for paclitaxel and doxorubicin. The drugs per se have shown to have a different profile and as expected, increasing the complexity of the membrane to be permeated, the permeability decreased, with the PES being more permeable and the ex vivo ureter tissue being less permeable. The molecular weight has also shown to influence the permeability of each drug and a higher percentage for doxorubicin (26{%}) and lower for paclitaxel (18{%}) was observed across the ex vivo ureter. The permeability (P), diffusion (D), and partition (K d ) coefficients of paclitaxel and doxorubicin through the permeable membranes were calculated. Finally, we showed that paclitaxel and doxorubicin drugs released from the BUS were able to remain in the ex vivo ureter and only a small amount of the drugs can across the different permeable membranes with a permeability of 3{%} for paclitaxel and 11{%} for doxorubicin. The estimated amount of paclitaxel that remains in the ex vivo ureter tissue is shown to be effective to affect the cancer cell and not affect the noncancer cells.

Aroso IM, Paiva A, Reis RL, Duarte AR. {Natural deep eutectic solvents from choline chloride and betaine – Physicochemical properties}. Journal of Molecular Liquids. 2017;241. Abstract

© 2017 Elsevier B.V. The preparation of natural deep eutectic solvents (NADESs) from cheap and readily available raw materials is reported. In this work, we have considered mixtures of choline chloride (CC) or betaine (Bet) with 3 sugar molecules (glucose (Glu), xylose (Xyl) and sucrose (Suc)) and 2 carboxylic acids (citric (CA) and tartaric (Tart) acids). The formation of NADESs was investigated by polarized optical microscopy (POM) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The CC mixtures give origin to NADESs for 1:1 M ratio with the sugar molecules and for 2:1, 1:1 and 1:2 with the carboxylic acids, while Bet mixtures only formed NADES with the carboxylic acids. The effect of water content (up to 5{%} (wt.{%})) and temperature in conductivity and rheology were characterized. The NADESs were found to be non-thixotropic, Newtonian liquids with high viscosity, decreasing with increasing temperature and water content. The conductivity is limited by charge carrier mobility, thus increasing with water content and temperature.

Salgado M, Rodríguez-Rojo S, Reis RL, Cocero MJ, Duarte AR. {Preparation of barley and yeast $\beta$-glucan scaffolds by hydrogel foaming: Evaluation of dexamethasone release}. Journal of Supercritical Fluids. 2017. Abstract

© 2017 Elsevier B.V. Porous polymeric materials are studied in tissue engineering, because they can act as support for cell proliferation and as drug delivery vehicles for regeneration of tissues. Hydrogel foaming with supercritical CO 2 is a suitable alternative for the creation of these structures, since it avoids the use of organic solvents and high temperature in the processing. In this work, $\beta$-glucans were used as raw materials to create hydrogels due to their easily gelation and biological properties. The enhancement of porosity was generated by a fast decompression after keeping the hydrogels in contact with CO 2 . The effect of the processing conditions and type of $\beta$-glucan in the final properties was assessed regarding morphological and mechanical properties. Finally, the ability of these materials to sustainably deliver dexamethasone was evaluated. The scaffolds had good morphology and provided a controlled release, thus being suitable to be used as scaffolds and drug delivery vehicles.

Mano F, Martins M, Sá-Nogueira I, Barreiros S, Borges JP, Reis RL, Duarte AR, Paiva A. {Production of Electrospun Fast-Dissolving Drug Delivery Systems with Therapeutic Eutectic Systems Encapsulated in Gelatin}. AAPS PharmSciTech. 2017. Abstractpdf

Fast-dissolving delivery systems (FDDS) have received increasing attention in the last years. Oral drug delivery is still the preferred route for the administration of pharmaceutical ingredients. Nevertheless, some patients, e.g. children or elderly people, have difficulties in swallowing solid tablets. In this work, gelatin membranes were produced by electrospinning, containing an encapsulated therapeutic deep-eutectic solvent (THEDES) composed by choline chloride/mandelic acid, in a 1:2 molar ratio. A gelatin solution (30{%} w/v) with 2{%} (v/v) of THEDES was used to produce electrospun fibers and the experimental parameters were optimized. Due to the high surface area of polymer fibers, this type of construct has wide applicability. With no cytotoxicity effect, and showing a fast-dissolving release profile in PBS, the gelatin fibers with encapsulated THEDES seem to have promising applications in the development of new drug delivery systems.

Aroso IM, Silva JC, Mano F, Ferreira AS, Dionísio M, Sá-Nogueira I, Barreiros S, Reis RL, Paiva A, Duarte AR. {Dissolution enhancement of active pharmaceutical ingredients by therapeutic deep eutectic systems}. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics. 2016;98:57-66. Abstractpdf

A therapeutic deep eutectic system (THEDES) is here defined as a deep eutectic solvent (DES) having an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) as one of the components. In this work, THEDESs are proposed as enhanced transporters and delivery vehicles for bioactive molecules. THEDESs based on choline chloride (ChCl) or menthol conjugated with three different APIs, namely acetylsalicylic acid (AA), benzoic acid (BA) and phenylacetic acid (PA), were synthesized and characterized for thermal behaviour, structural features, dissolution rate and antibacterial activity. Differential scanning calorimetry and polarized optical microscopy showed that ChCl:PA (1:1), ChCl:AA (1:1), menthol:AA (3:1), menthol:BA (3:1), menthol:PA (2:1) and menthol:PA (3:1) were liquid at room temperature. Dissolution studies in PBS led to increased dissolution rates for the APIs when in the form of THEDES, compared to the API alone. The increase in dissolution rate was particularly noticeable for menthol-based THEDES. Antibacterial activity was assessed using both Gram-positive and Gram-negative model organisms. The results show that all the THEDESs retain the antibacterial activity of the API. Overall, our results highlight the great potential of THEDES as dissolution enhancers in the development of novel and more effective drug delivery systems.

Barros AA, Browne S, Oliveira C, Lima E, Duarte AR, Healy KE, Reis RL. {Drug-eluting biodegradable ureteral stent: New approach for urothelial tumors of upper urinary tract cancer}. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 2016;513. Abstract

© 2016 Elsevier B.V. Upper urinary tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) accounts for 5–10{%} of urothelial carcinomas and is a disease that has not been widely studied as carcinoma of the bladder. To avoid the problems of conventional therapies, such as the need for frequent drug instillation due to poor drug retention, we developed a biodegradable ureteral stent (BUS) impregnated by supercritical fluid CO 2 (scCO 2 ) with the most commonly used anti-cancer drugs, namely paclitaxel, epirubicin, doxorubicin, and gemcitabine. The release kinetics of anti-cancer therapeutics from drug-eluting stents was measured in artificial urine solution (AUS). The in vitro release showed a faster release in the first 72 h for the four anti-cancer drugs, after this time a plateau was achieved and finally the stent degraded after 9 days. Regarding the amount of impregnated drugs by scCO 2 , gemcitabine showed the highest amount of loading (19.57 $μ$g drug /mg polymer: 2{%} loaded), while the lowest amount was obtained for paclitaxel (0.067 $μ$g drug /mg polymer : 0.01{%} loaded). A cancer cell line (T24) was exposed to graded concentrations (0.01–2000 ng/ml) of each drugs for 4 and 72 h to determine the sensitivities of the cells to each drug (IC 50 ). The direct and indirect contact study of the anti-cancer biodegradable ureteral stents with the T24 and HUVEC cell lines confirmed the anti-tumoral effect of the BUS impregnated with the four anti-cancer drugs tested, reducing around 75{%} of the viability of the T24 cell line after 72 h and demonstrating minimal cytotoxic effect on HUVECs.

Silva JC, Barros AA, Aroso IM, Fassini D, Silva TH, Reis RL, Duarte AR. {Extraction of Collagen/Gelatin from the Marine Demosponge Chondrosia reniformis (Nardo, 1847) Using Water Acidified with Carbon Dioxide - Process Optimization}. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research. 2016;55:6922-30. Abstract

Marine sponges are a rich source of natural bioactive compounds. One of the most abundant valuable products is collagen/gelatin, which presents an interesting alternative source for pharmaceutical and biomedical applications. We have previously proposed an innovative green technology for the extraction of collagen/gelatin from marine sponges based in water acidified with carbon dioxide. In this work, we have optimized the process operating conditions toward high yields and collagen quality as well as to reduce extraction procedure duration and energy consumption. The process extraction efficiency is higher than 50{%}, corresponding to a yield of approximately 10{%} of the sponge dry mass, obtained for mild operating conditions of 10 bar and 3 h. The extracted material was characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), rheology, Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), circular dichroism (CD), amino acid analysis, and SDS-PAGE. The extracts were found to be composed of highly pure mixtures of co...