Advanced Pharmacy

Naturally and Chemically Sulfated Polysaccharides in Drug Delivery Systems

Author(s): Héctor J. Prado*, María C. Matulewicz and Marina Ciancia

Pp: 135-196 (62)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815049428123010009

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Sulfated polysaccharides have always attracted much attention in food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. These polysaccharides can be obtained from natural sources such as seaweeds (agarans, carrageenans, fucoidans, mannans and ulvans), or animal tissues (glucosaminoglycans). In the last few years, several neutral or cationic polysaccharides have been sulfated by chemical methods and anionic or amphoteric derivatives were obtained, respectively, for drug delivery and other biomedical applications. An important characteristic of sulfated polysaccharides in this field is that they can associate with cationic drugs generating polyelectrolyte-drug complexes, or with cationic polymers to form interpolyelectrolyte complexes, with hydrogel properties that expand even more their applications. The aims of this chapter are to present the structural characteristics of these polysaccharides, to describe the methods of sulfation applied and to review extensively and discuss developments in their use or their role in interpolyelectrolyte complexes in drug delivery platforms. A variety of pharmaceutical dosage forms which were developed and administered by multiple routes (oral, transdermal, ophthalmic, and pulmonary, among others) to treat diverse pathologies were considered. Different IPECs were formed employing these sulfated polysaccharides as the anionic component. The most widely investigated is κ-carrageenan. Chitosan is usually employed as a cationic polyelectrolyte, with a variety of sulfated polysaccharides, besides the applications of chemically sulfated chitosan. Although chemical sulfation is often carried out in neutral polysaccharides and, to a less extent, in cationic ones, examples of oversulfation of naturally sulfated fucoidan have been found which improve its drug binding capacity and biological properties.

Keywords: Sulfated polysaccharides, drug delivery, polyelectrolyte drug complexes, interpolyelectrolyte complexes, nanotechnology.

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