This study deals with the production of chitosan microparticles containing insulin by interfacial crosslinkage of chitosan solubilized in the aqueous phase of a water/oil dispersion in the presence of ascorbyl palmitate. The use of ascorbyl palmitate as interfacial crosslinker is based on its amphiphilic properties allowing its disposition at the water/oil interface of the preparative dispersion, thus permitting covalent bond formation with the amino groups of chitosan when its oxidation to dehydroascorbyl palmitate takes place during microparticle preparation. This preparation method produced microparticles characterized by high loading levels of insulin, completely releasing the drug in about 80 h at an almost constant release rate as determined by spectrophotometric and spectrofluorimetric methods. In contrast, the replacement of ascorbyl palmitate by dehydroascorbyl palmitate provided microparticles incompletely releasing the incorporated drug and characterized by a non-constant release rate over time due to the higher lipophilicity of dehydroascorbyl palmitate which hinders its disposition at the water/oil interface and thus decreases the crosslinking efficiency and increases the lipophilicity of the microparticle surface. The efficiency of the spectrofluorimetric and spectrophotometric methods used for determination of the stability and release of the insulin from the chitosan microparticles is also discussed.
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