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Background: Chitosan, a polymer derived from chitin, has been used for nasal drug delivery because of its biocompatibility, biodegradability and bioadhesiveness. Theophylline is a drug that reduces the inflammatory effects of allergic asthma but is difficult to administer at an appropriate dosage without causing adverse side effects. It was hypothesized that adsorption of theophylline to chitosan nanoparticles modified by the addition of thiol groups would improve theophylline absorption by the bronchial epithelium and enhance its anti-inflammatory effects. Objectives: We sought to develop an improved drug-delivery matrix for theophylline based on thiolated chitosan,and to investigate whether thiolated chitosan nanoparticles (TCNs) can enhance theophylline's capacity to alleviate allergic asthma. Methods: A mouse model of allergic asthma was used to test the effects of theophylline in vivo. BALB/c mice were sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) and OVA-challenged to produce an inflammatory allergic condition.They were then treated intranasally with theophylline alone, chitosan nanoparticles alone or theophylline adsorbed to TCNs. The effects of theophylline on cellular infiltration in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, histopathology of lung sections,and apoptosis of lung cells were investigated to determine the effectiveness of TCNs as a drug-delivery vehicle for theophylline. Results: Theophylline alone exerts a moderate anti-inflammatory effect, as evidenced by the decrease in eosinophils in BAL fluid, the reduction of bronchial damage, inhibition of mucus hypersecretion and increased apoptosis of lung cells. The effects of theophylline were significantly enhanced when the drug was delivered by TCNs. Conclusion: Intranasal delivery of theophylline complexed with TCNs augmented the anti-inflammatory effects of the drug compared to theophylline administered alone in a mouse model of allergic asthma. The beneficial effects of theophylline in treating asthma may be enhanced through the use of this novel drug delivery system. © 2006 Lee et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Lee, D. W., Shirley, S. A., Lockey, R. F., & Mohapatra, S. S. (2006). Thiolated chitosan nanoparticles enhance anti-inflammatory effects of intranasally delivered theophylline. Respiratory Research, 7. https://doi.org/10.1186/1465-9921-7-112