A multiparticulate system combining pH-sensitive property and specific biodegradability for colon-targeted delivery of metronidazole has been investigated. Cross-linked chitosan microspheres were prepared from an emulsion system using liquid paraffin as the external phase and solution of chitosan in acetic acid as the disperse phase. The multiparticulate system was prepared by coating cross-linked chitosan microspheres exploiting Eudragit L-100 and S-100 as pH-sensitive polymers. Morphology and surface characteristics of the formulations were determined by scanning electron microscopy. Particle size of the chitosan microspheres was determined by optical microscopy while that of coated microspheres was determined by particle size analyzer. In vitro drug-release studies were performed in conditions simulating stomach-to-colon transit in presence and absence of rat caecal contents. The size of the microspheres was small and they were efficiently microencapsulated within Eudragit microspheres, forming a multireservoir system. By coating the microspheres with Eudragit pH-dependant release profiles were obtained. No release was observed at acidic pH; however, when it reached the pH where Eudragit starts solublizing there was continuous release of drug from the formulation. Further, the release of drug was found to be higher in the presence of rat caecal contents, indicating the susceptibility of chitosan matrix to colonic enzymes released from rat caecal contents.
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