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Alves A, Duarte AR, Mano JF, Sousa RA, Reis RL. {PDLLA enriched with ulvan particles as a novel 3D porous scaffold targeted for bone engineering}. Journal of Supercritical Fluids. 2012;65:32-8. Abstractpdf

A marine derived polysaccharide, ulvan, extracted from green algae, was combined with poly-d, l-lactic acid (PDLLA) in order to produce a novel scaffold for bone tissue engineering applications. Three dimensional (3D) scaffolds of PDLLA loaded with ulvan particles were originally prepared by subcritical fluid sintering with carbon dioxide at 40°C and 50 bar. Prepared matrixes were characterized in order to validate their suitability to be used as scaffolds for bone tissue regeneration. Characterization included micro-computed tomography, mechanical compression testing, water uptake and degradation testing, and cytotoxicity assays. In addition, ulvan particles loaded with dexamethasone, were also dispersed within the PDLLA matrix and the respective release profile from the samples was evaluated. Prepared PDLLA scaffolds enriched with ulvan particles demonstrated appropriate physicochemical and cytocompatible features to be used for the envisaged applications. On the other hand, the release of dexamethasone from ulvan particles embedded within the PDLLA matrix revealed that the designed systems can be potentially suitable for localized drug delivery. These results further contribute to the establishment of ulvan as a potential novel biomaterial. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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.

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.

Aroso IM, Duarte AR, Pires RR, Mano JF, Reis RL. {Cork processing with supercritical carbon dioxide: Impregnation and sorption studies}. Journal of Supercritical Fluids. 2015;104:251-8. Abstractpdf

Abstract The present study relates to the use of supercritical carbon dioxide (SCCO{\textless}inf{\textgreater}2{\textless}/inf{\textgreater}) to modify the properties of cork by incorporation of new molecules. The impact of SCCO{\textless}inf{\textgreater}2{\textless}/inf{\textgreater}processing on the morphology and on the mechanical properties was found to be negligible.The impregnation of disperse blue 14 (blue dye) on cubic shaped cork samples of 5 mm occurs progressively,is dependent of the processing conditions and of the presence of lenticels and growth rings. The impregnation of the samples bulk was achieved with processing at 10 MPa and 313 K for 16 h. The solubility and sorption of SCCO{\textless}inf{\textgreater}2{\textless}/inf{\textgreater} in the cork matrix was measured using circular discs and the diffusion coefficients calculated to be on the order of 10{\textless}sup{\textgreater}-8{\textless}/sup{\textgreater} cm{\textless}sup{\textgreater}2{\textless}/sup{\textgreater}/s, the same order as for wood materials. This work demonstrates the feasibility of supercritical fluid technology to impart new features to cork, which may lead to innovative architectural, outdoor and industrial applications.

Aroso IM, Craveiro R, Rocha Â, Dionísio M, Barreiros S, Reis RL, Paiva A, Duarte AR. {Design of controlled release systems for THEDES - Therapeutic deep eutectic solvents, using supercritical fluid technology}. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 2015;492. Abstract

© 2015 Elsevier B.V. Abstract Deep eutectic solvents (DES) can be formed by bioactive compounds or pharmaceutical ingredients. A therapeutic DES (THEDES) based on ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and menthol was synthesized and its thermal behavior was analyzed by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). A controlled drug delivery system was developed by impregnating a starch:poly-Ï$μ$-caprolactone polymeric blend (SPCL 30:70) with the menthol:ibuprofen THEDES in different ratios (10 and 20 wt{%}), after supercritical fluid sintering at 20 MPa and 50 °C. The morphological characterization of SPCL matrices impregnated with THEDES was performed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and micro-computed tomography (micro-CT). Drug release studies were carried out in a phosphate buffered saline. The results obtained provide important clues for the development of carriers for the sustainable delivery of bioactive compounds.

Babo P, Santo V{, Duarte AR, Correia C{, Costa MH, Mano J{, Reis RL, Gomes ME. {Platelet lysate membranes as new autologous templates for tissue engineering applications}. Inflammation and Regeneration. 2014;34:033-44. Abstractpdf
Barros A, Quraishi S, Martins M, Gurikov P, Subrahmanyam R, Smirnova I, Duarte AR, Reis RL. {Hybrid Alginate-Based Cryogels for Life Science Applications}. Chemie-Ingenieur-Technik. 2016;88. Abstract

© 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH {&} Co. KGaA, Weinheim. This work presents a novel route toward porous scaffolds for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TERM) applications. Hybrid cryogels with gelatin, gellan gum, carboxymethylcellulose, and lignin were prepared by a two-step process. Textural properties of the cryogels were analyzed by SEM and micro-computed tomography. The results indicated that rapid freezing retained sample shape and yielded macroporous materials. The mechanical properties of the cryogels were characterized in compression mode. Cytotoxicity studies indicated that the hybrid-alginate cryogels did not present cytotoxicity and have the potential to be used in TERM.

Barros AA, Aroso IM, Silva TH, Mano JF, Duarte AR, Reis RL. {Surface modification of silica-based marine sponge bioceramics induce hydroxyapatite formation}. Crystal Growth and Design. 2014;14:4545-52. Abstract

Marine biomaterials are a new emerging area of research with significant applications. Recently, researchers are dedicating considerable attention to marine-sponge biomaterials for various applications. We have focused on the potential of biosilica from Petrosia ficidormis for novel biomedical/industrial applications. A bioceramic structure from this sponge was obtained after calcination at 750 °C for 6 h in a furnace. The morphological characteristics of the three-dimensional architecture were evaluated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and microcomputed tomography, revealing a highly porous and interconnected structure. The skeleton of P. ficidormis is a siliceous matrix composed of SiO2, which does not present inherent bioactivity. Induction of bioactivity was attained by subjecting the bioceramics structure to an alkaline treatment (2M KOH) and acidic treatment (2M HCl) for 1 and 3 h. In vitro bioactivity of the bioceramics structure was evaluated in simulated body fluid (SBF), after 7 and 14 days. Observation of the structures by SEM, coupled with spectroscopic elemental analysis (EDS), has shown that the surface morphology presented a calcium-phosphate CaP coating, similar to hydroxyapatite (HA). The determination of the Ca/P ratio, together with the evaluation of the characteristic peaks of HA by infrared spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction, have proven the existence of HA. In vitro biological performance of the structures was evaluated using an osteoblast cell line, and the acidic treatment has shown to be the most effective treatment. Cells were seeded on bioceramics structures and their morphology; viability and growth were evaluated by SEM, MTS assay, and DNA quantification, respectively, demonstrating that cells are able to grow and colonize the bioceramic structures. © 2014 American Chemical Society.

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.

Barros AA, Oliveira C, Reis RL, Lima E, Duarte AR. {Ketoprofen-eluting biodegradable ureteral stents by CO{\textless}inf{\textgreater}2{\textless}/inf{\textgreater}impregnation: In vitro study}. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 2015;495. Abstract

© 2015 Elsevier B.V. Ureteral stents are indispensable tools in urologic practice. The main complications associated with ureteral stents are dislocation, infection, pain and encrustation. Biodegradable ureteral stents are one of the most attractive designs with the potential to eliminate several complications associated with the stenting procedure. In this work we hypothesize the impregnation of ketoprofen, by CO 2 -impregnation in a patented biodegradable ureteral stent previously developed in our group. The biodegradable ureteral stents with each formulation: alginate-based, gellan gum-based were impregnated with ketoprofen and the impregnation conditions tested were 100 bar, 2 h and three different temperatures (35 °C, 40°C and 50°C). The impregnation was confirmed by FTIR and DSC demonstrated the amorphization of the drug upon impregnation. The in vitro elution profile in artificial urine solution (AUS) during degradation of a biodegradable ureteral stent loaded with ketoprofen was evaluated. According to the kinetics results these systems have shown to be very promising for the release ketoprofen in the first 72 h, which is the necessary time for anti-inflammatory delivery after the surgical procedure. The in vitro release studied revealed an influence of the temperature on the impregnation yield, with a higher impregnation yield at 40°C. Higher yields were also obtained for gellan gum-based stents. The non-cytotoxicity characteristic of the developed ketoprofen-eluting biodegradable ureteral stents was evaluated in L929 cell line by MTS assay which demonstrated the feasibility of this product as a medical device.

Barros AA, Rita AN, Duarte AR, Pires RA, Sampaio-Marques B, Ludovico P, Lima E, Mano JF, Reis RL. {Bioresorbable ureteral stents from natural origin polymers}. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials. 2015;103:608-17. Abstract

In this work, stents were produced from natural origin polysaccharides. Alginate, gellan gum, and a blend of these with gelatin were used to produce hollow tube (stents) following a combination of templated gelation and critical point carbon dioxide drying. Morphological analysis of the surface of the stents was carried out by scanning electron microscopy. Indwelling time, encrustation, and stability of the stents in artificial urine solution was carried out up to 60 days of immersion. In vitro studies carried out with simulated urine demonstrated that the tubes present a high fluid uptake ability, about 1000{%}. Despite this, the materials are able to maintain their shape and do not present an extensive swelling behavior. The bioresorption profile was observed to be highly dependent on the composition of the stent and it can be tuned. Complete dissolution of the materials may occur between 14 and 60 days. Additionally, no encrustation was observed within the tested timeframe. The ability to resist bacterial adherence was evaluated with Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus and two Gram-negatives Escherichia coli DH5 alpha and Klebsiella oxytoca. For K. oxytoca, no differences were observed in comparison with a commercial stent (Biosoft((R)) duo, Porges), although, for S. aureus all tested compositions had a higher inhibition of bacterial adhesion compared to the commercial stents. In case of E. coli, the addition of gelatin to the formulations reduced the bacterial adhesion in a highly significant manner compared to the commercial stents. The stents produced by the developed technology fulfill the requirements for ureteral stents and will contribute in the development of biocompatible and bioresorbable urinary stents.

Barros AA, Aroso IM, Silva TH, Mano JF, Duarte AR, Reis RL. {Water and carbon dioxide: Green solvents for the extraction of collagen/gelatin from marine sponges}. ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering. 2015;3:254-60. Abstract

Marine sponges are extremely rich in natural products and are considered a promising biological resource. The major objective of this work is to couple a green extraction process with a natural origin raw material to obtain sponge origin collagen/gelatin for biomedical applications. Marine sponge collagen has unique physicochemical properties, but its application is hindered by the lack of availability due to inefficient extraction methodologies. Traditional extraction methods are time consuming as they involve several operating steps and large amounts of solvents. In this work, we propose a new extraction methodology under mild operating conditions in which water is acidified with carbon dioxide (CO2) to promote the extraction of collagen/gelatin from different marine sponge species. An extraction yield of approximately 50{%} of collagen/gelatin was achieved. The results of Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), circular dichroism (CD), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) spectra suggest a mixture of collagen/gelatin with high purity, and the analysis of the amino acid composition has shown similarities with collagen from other marine sources. Additionally, in vitro cytotoxicity studies did not demonstrate any toxicity effects for three of the extracts.

Barros AA, Aroso IM, Silva TH, Mano JF, Duarte AR, Reis RL. {In vitro bioactivity studies of ceramic structures isolated from marine sponges}. Biomedical Materials (Bristol). 2016;11. Abstract

© 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd. In this work, we focused on the potential of bioceramics from different marine sponges - namely Petrosia ficiformis, Agelas oroides and Chondrosia reniformis - for novel biomedical/industrial applications. The bioceramics from these sponges were obtained after calcination at 750 °C for 6 h in a furnace. The morphological characteristics were evaluated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The in vitro bioactivity of the bioceramics was evaluated in simulated body fluid (SBF) after 14 and 21 d. Observation of the bioceramics by SEM after immersion in SBF solution, coupled with spectroscopic elemental analysis (EDS), showed that the surface morphology was consistent with a calcium-phosphate (Ca/P) coating, similar to hydroxyapatite crystals (HA). Evaluation of the characteristic peaks of Ca/P crystals by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction further confirmed the existence of HA. Cytotoxicity studies were carried out with the different ceramics and these were compared with a commercially available Bioglass ® . In vitro tests demonstrated that marine bioceramics from these sponges are non-cytotoxic and have the potential to be used as substitutes for synthetic Bioglass ® .

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, 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.

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.

Coimbra P, Gil MH, Sousa HD, Duarte CM. {T O T S I U Rib N Tio T O T S I N}.. 2008:102-7. Abstract
Correia C, Pereira AL, Duarte AR, Frias AM, Pedro AJ, Oliveira JT, Sousa RA, Reis RL. {Dynamic culturing of cartilage tissue: The significance of hydrostatic pressure}. Tissue Engineering - Part A. 2012;18. Abstract

Human articular cartilage functions under a wide range of mechanical loads in synovial joints, where hydrostatic pressure (HP) is the prevalent actuating force. We hypothesized that the formation of engineered cartilage can be augmented by applying such physiologic stimuli to chondrogenic cells or stem cells, cultured in hydrogels, using custom-designed HP bioreactors. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the effects of distinct HP regimens on cartilage formation in vitro by either human nasal chondrocytes (HNCs) or human adipose stem cells (hASCs) encapsulated in gellan gum (GG) hydrogels. To this end, we varied the frequency of low HP, by applying pulsatile hydrostatic pressure or a steady hydrostatic pressure load to HNC-GG constructs over a period of 3 weeks, and evaluated their effects on cartilage tissue-engineering outcomes. HNCs (10×10 6 cells/mL) were encapsulated in GG hydrogels (1.5{%}) and cultured in a chondrogenic medium under three regimens for 3 weeks: (1) 0.4 MPa Pulsatile HP; (2) 0.4 MPa Steady HP; and (3) Static. Subsequently, we applied the pulsatile regimen to hASC-GG constructs and varied the amplitude of loading, by generating both low (0.4 MPa) and physiologic (5 MPa) HP levels. hASCs (10×10 6 cells/mL) were encapsulated in GG hydrogels (1.5{%}) and cultured in a chondrogenic medium under three regimens for 4 weeks: (1) 0.4 MPa Pulsatile HP; (2) 5 MPa Pulsatile HP; and (3) Static. In the HNC study, the best tissue development was achieved by the pulsatile HP regimen, whereas in the hASC study, greater chondrogenic differentiation and matrix deposition were obtained for physiologic loading, as evidenced by gene expression of aggrecan, collagen type II, and sox-9; metachromatic staining of cartilage extracellular matrix; and immunolocalization of collagens. We thus propose that both HNCs and hASCs detect and respond to physical forces, thus resembling joint loading, by enhancing cartilage tissue development in a frequency- and amplitude-dependant manner. © Copyright 2012, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Costa MS, Duarte AR, Cardoso MM, Duarte CM. {Supercritical antisolvent precipitation of PHBV microparticles}. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 2007;328:72-7. Abstract

The micronization of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) from organic solutions using supercritical antisolvent (SAS) technique has been successfully achieved. SAS experiments were carried out at different operational conditions and microspheres with mean diameters ranging from 3 to 9 $μ$m were obtained. The effect of CO2 and liquid flow, temperature and pressure on particle size and particle size distribution was evaluated. The microspheres were precipitated from a dichloromethane (DCM) solution. The best process conditions for this mixture were, according to our study, 40 °C, 100 bar, 1 mL min-1 liquid flow and 10 L min-1 carbon dioxide flow. Experiments with polymers containing different HV percentages were carried out. The powders obtained became more spherical as the HV content decreased. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Costa VP, Braga ME, Guerra JP, Duarte AR, Duarte CM, Leite EO, Gil MH, de Sousa HC. {Development of therapeutic contact lenses using a supercritical solvent impregnation method}. Journal of Supercritical Fluids. 2010;52:306-16. Abstract

We present some selected results indicating the feasibility of preparing therapeutic finished ophthalmic articles, namely commercially available soft contact lenses, using a supercritical solvent impregnation (SSI) technique. Several commercial soft contact lenses were tested and, among these, four lenses were selected for more complete studies: Nelfilcon A (FocusDailies®, CIBA Vision), Omafilcon A (Proclear® Compatibles, CooperVision), Methafilcon A (Frequency® 55, CooperVision) and Hilafilcon B (SofLens® 59 Comfort, Bausch {&} Lomb). Supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) was the chosen supercritical fluid and two ophthalmic drugs were tested: flurbiprofen (a NSAID, hydrophobic) and timolol maleate (an anti-glaucoma drug, hydrophilic). The effects of operational pressure, of impregnation duration and of the addition of a cosolvent (ethanol) were studied on the overall drug loading yields. Depending on the experiment, we employed pressures from 9 up to 16 MPa and impregnation times from 30 up to 180 min. Temperature was kept constant and equal to 313 K. The employed depressurization rates were kept low and between 0.1 and 0.2 MPa/min. Results are discussed in terms of the employed operational conditions and taking in consideration all the possible interactions between supercritical fluids, drugs, cosolvents and the polymers which compose the employed hydrogel contact lenses. In vitro drug release experiments were carried out in order to evaluate the resulting drug release profiles. Obtained results were also compared with drug-loaded contact lenses obtained by conventional drug "soaking" in aqueous solutions. Results also proved that SSI can be considered as a viable, efficient and safe alternative for the impregnation of drugs, including those of hydrophobic character or presenting low aqueous solubility, into commercial soft contact lenses. SSI proved to be a "tunable" process since the variation of the employed operational conditions indicated that it is possible to control the amount of impregnated drug. In the end, the ophthalmic articles were recovered undamaged and without the presence of harmful solvent residues. This method also permits to process already prepared commercial contact lenses, without interfering with their manufacture methods and, after processing, store them for future use. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Craveiro R, Martins M, Santos GB, Correia N, Dionísio M, Barreiros S, Duarte AR, Reis RL, Paiva A. {Starch-based polymer-IL composites formed by compression moulding and supercritical fluid foaming for self-supported conductive materials}. RSC Advances. 2014;4. Abstract

In this work, blends of starch and poly-$ε$-caprolactone (PCL) doped with different concentrations of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([BMIM]Ac) or 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride ([BMIM] Cl) were studied. The blends were characterized by mechanical analysis, infra-red spectroscopy (FTIR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and dielectric relaxation spectroscopy (DRS), evaluating the IL doping effect. The samples were subjected to supercritical carbon dioxide foaming and the morphology of the structures was assessed. DSC shows a single glass transition and melting endotherm for foamed and unfoamed samples, having no effect upon IL doping, and DRS shows increased molecular mobility for blends with higher IL concentrations, and some hindrance for lower ones. The conductivity for SPCL doped with 30{%} [BMIM] Cl, before and after foaming, is comparable to the conductivity of the IL but exhibits more stable conductivity values, opening doors for applications as self-supported conductive materials. © 2014 the Partner Organisations.

Cravo C, Duarte AR, Duarte CM. {Solubility of carbon dioxide in a natural biodegradable polymer: Determination of diffusion coefficients}. Journal of Supercritical Fluids. 2007;40. Abstract

Carbon dioxide solubility in a natural biodegradable polymer, namely poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) and the diffusion coefficients are reported. Equilibrium solubility of dense carbon dioxide in PHBV was studied by a gravimetric method in a temperature range from 308 to 313 K and a pressure range from 10.0 to 15.0 MPa. The copolymer presented Fickian behavior and Fick's diffusion model was applied to determine the amount of carbon dioxide present in the samples after a predermined exposure time as well as the diffusion coefficients. Diffusion coefficients for the sorption under supercritical (sc) conditions and desorption at ambient conditions were determined and compared. To evaluate the influence of the HV content in the amount of maximum sorption degree of the polymer, different samples of PHBV copolymers were tested and the sorption curves are here presented. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Duarte AR, Mano JF, Reis RL. {Novel 3D scaffolds of chitosan-PLLA blends for tissue engineering applications: Preparation and characterization}. Journal of Supercritical Fluids. 2010;54:282-9. Abstract

This work addresses the preparation of 3D porous scaffolds of blends of chitosan and poly(l-lactic acid), CHT and PLLA, using supercritical fluid technology. Supercritical assisted phase-inversion was used to prepare scaffolds for tissue engineering purposes. The physicochemical and biological properties of chitosan make it an excellent material for the preparation of drug delivery systems and for the development of new biomedical applications in many fields from skin to bone or cartilage regeneration. On the other hand, PLLA is a synthetic biodegradable polymer widely used for biomedical applications. Supercritical assisted phase-inversion experiments were carried out in samples with different polymer ratios and different polymer solution concentrations. The effect of CHT:PLLA ratio and polymer concentration and on the morphology and topography of the scaffolds was assessed by SEM and Micro-CT. Infra-red spectroscopic imaging analysis of the scaffolds allowed a better understanding on the distribution of the two polymers within the matrix. This work demonstrates that supercritical fluid technology constitutes a new processing technology, clean and environmentally friendly for the preparation of scaffolds for tissue engineering using these materials. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Duarte AR, Casimiro T, Aguiar-Ricardo A, Simplício AL, Duarte CM. {Supercritical fluid polymerisation and impregnation of molecularly imprinted polymers for drug delivery}. Journal of Supercritical Fluids. 2006;39:102-6. Abstract

Herein the preparation of molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) using supercritical fluid technology is evaluated. Poly(diethylene glycol dimethacrylate), polyDEGDMA, was synthesised in supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) using a carboxylic acid end-capped perfluoropolyether oil as stabiliser. Polymerisations were carried out in the presence of different concentrations of two different template drug molecules, salicylic acid and acetylsalicylic acid. Results suggest that molecular imprinted polymers were successfully prepared by supercritical polymerisation and then impregnated with the template in order to prepare controlled release systems. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Duarte AR, Simplicio AL, Vega-González A, Subra-Paternault P, Coimbra P, Gil MH, de Sousa HC, Duarte CM. {Supercritical fluid impregnation of a biocompatible polymer for ophthalmic drug delivery}. Journal of Supercritical Fluids. 2007;42:373-7. Abstract

Supercritical fluid impregnation was tested to prepare a new ophthalmic drug delivery device. Poly(methylmethacrylate-co-ethylhexylacrylate-co-ethyleneglycoldimethacr ylate), P(MMA-EHA-EGDMA) has been proposed by Mariz [M. Mariz, Preparação de uma lente intra-ocular dotada de um sistema de libertação controlada de fármaco, Master Thesis, Universidade de Coimbra, 1999] as a promising matrix to be used for intraocular delivery of anti-inflammatory drugs used in eye surgery. This matrix was successfully impregnated with flurbiprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent. The success of the impregnation was evaluated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis and also by in vitro drug release studies. The effect of some operating parameters was evaluated, namely, pressure and contact time. The operating pressure will influence both the solubility of the drug in the supercritical fluid but also the sorption degree of the polymeric matrix in the presence of carbon dioxide. The solubility of the drug in carbon dioxide and the sorption degree are reported in previous studies. A comparison between the batch and the semi-continuous impregnation process is also presented. The supercritical fluid impregnation proved to be feasible for the preparation of a new ophthalmic drug delivery system. The drug release profiles suggest that the drug can be released up to three months, which is a major advantage for the prevention of the inflammatory response after ophthalmic surgery. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.