Pulmonary targeting of sustained release formulation of budesonide in neonatal rats

Vikram Arya, Intira Coowanitwong, Boglarka Brugos, Won Seok Kim, Rajiv Singh, Guenther Hochhaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Systemic corticosteroids are widely used for the treatment/prevention of chronic lung disease (CLD) in premature infants. The use of the inhalation route for delivering corticosteroids has been widely recognized, however so far pre-term babies continue to be treated with oral glucocorticoids, such as dexamethasone. We hypothesize that the pulmonary administration of sustained release formulations of inhaled corticosteroids to pre-term infants will result in a higher benefit/risk ratio as compared to traditional inhalation therapy. To achieve a slow release formulation budesonide particles were coated with a very thin film of polylactic acid using a pulse laser ablation technique. Coated material was characterized with respect to the dissolution behavior and particle size. Ex vivo receptor binding studies were performed to monitor the cumulative lung, liver and brain receptor occupancies after adminstration in neonatal (10-11 days old) rats after intratracheal instillation of either uncoated budesonide or poly (l-lactic acid) (PLA) coated budesonide. The mean dissolution timed for the uncoated and the polymer coated formulations were 1.2 ± 0.5 and 4.7 ± 0.1h, respectively (p < 0.05). No significant differences in the respirable fraction were found between coated and uncoated formulation (p > 0.05). The average receptor occupancies in the lung, liver and brain after administration of uncoated budesonide were 58.4 ± 12.9, 56.4 ± 6.8 and 38.3 ± 6.7%, respectively. However, after administration of PLA coated budesonide, the average AUC estimates in the lung, liver and brain were 75.8 ± 3.7%, 46.6 ± 14.5 and 29 ± 7, respectively. The results from our study suggest sustained receptor occupancy in the lungs of neonatal rats after administration of PLA coated budesonide results in lower systemic exposure (as indicated by low liver receptor occupancy). The data strongly underscore the urgent need to develop sustained release pulmonary-targeted delivery systems of corticosteroids for the treatment of CLD in pre-term infants. The administration of inhaled corticosteroids using targeted drug-delivery systems will potentially result in higher local effects and a reduction in systemic exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)680-686
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Drug Targeting
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Laser ablation
  • Poly-lactic acid
  • Pulmonary selectivity
  • Sustained release


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