The entrapment of lysozyme in amphiphilic multiblock copolymer microspheres by emulsification and subsequent solvent removal processes was studied. The copolymers are composed of hydrophilic poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) blocks and hydrophobic poly(butylene terephthalate) (PBT) blocks. Direct solvent extraction from a water-in-oil (w/o) emulsion in ethanol or methanol did not result in the formation of microspheres, due to massive polymer precipitation caused by rapid solvent extraction in these non-solvents. In a second process, microspheres were first prepared by a water-in-oil-in-water (w/o/w) emulsion system with 4% poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) as stabilizer in the external phase, followed by extraction of the remaining solvent. As non-solvents ethanol, methanol and mixtures of methanol and water were employed. However, the use of alcohols in the extraction medium resulted in microspheres which gave an incomplete lysozyme release at a non-constant rate. Complete lysozyme release was obtained from microspheres prepared by an emulsification-solvent evaporation method in PBS containing poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) (PVP) or PVA as stabilizer. PVA was most effective in stabilizing the w/o/w emulsion. Perfectly spherical microspheres were produced, with high protein entrapment efficiencies. These microspheres released lysozyme at an almost constant rate for approximately 28 days. The reproducibility of the w/o/w emulsion process was demonstrated by comparing particle characteristics and release profiles of three batches, prepared under similar conditions.
- Block copolymer
- Controlled release