The purpose of this research was to assess the physicochemical properties of a controlled release formulation of recombinant human growth hormone (rHGH) encapsulated in poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) composite microspheres. rHGH was loaded in poly(acryloyl hydroxyethyl) starch (acHES) microparticles, and then the protein-containing microparticles were encapsulated in the PLGA matrix by a solvent extraction/evaporation method. rHGH-loaded PLGA microspheres were also prepared using mannitol without the starch hydrogel microparticle microspheres for comparison. The detection of secondary structure changes in protein was investigated by using a Fourier Transfer Infrared (FTIR) technique. The composite microspheres were spherical in shape (44.6 +/- 2.47 microm), and the PLGA-mannitol microspheres were 39.7 +/- 2.50 microm. Drug-loading efficiency varied from 93.2% to 104%. The composite microspheres showed higher overall drug release than the PLGA/mannitol microspheres. FTIR analyses indicated good stability and structural integrity of HGH localized in the microspheres. The PLGA-acHES composite microsphere system could be useful for the controlled delivery of protein drugs.
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