Polymeric Nanofiber/Antifungal Formulations Using a Novel Co-extrusion Approach
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We report the successful implementation of a novel melt co-extrusion process to fabricate ca. 1 μm diameter fibers of poly(caprolactone) (PCL) containing the antifungal compound clotrimazole in concentrations between 4 and 8 wt%. The process involves co-extrusion of a clotrimazole-loaded PCL along with poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) as a co-feed, with subsequent removal of PEO to isolate PCL-clotrimazole fibers. In vitro tests of the clotrimazole-containing fibers against the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, Candida albicans, and Trichophyton mentagrophytes strains demonstrated good antifungal activity which was maintained for more than 3 weeks. An in vivo study using a mouse model showed the lowest tissue fungal burden for PCL-clotrimazole when compared to a PCL-only patch and untreated controls. Comparative studies were conducted with clotrimazole-containing PCL fibers fabricated by electrospinning. Our data showed that the co-extruded, clotrimazole-containing fibers maintain activity for longer times vs. electrospun samples. This, coupled with the much higher throughput of the co-extrusion process vs. electrospinning, renders this new approach very attractive for the fabrication of drug-releasing polymer fibers.
KEY WORDSantifungal release clotrimazole co-extruded fiber poly(caprolactone)
The authors acknowledge funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Science and Technology Center, the Center for Layered Polymeric Systems (CLiPS), under Grant DMR-0423914, and the NSF under Grant CMMI-1335276. We are also grateful for discussions with Dr. Andrew Olah of CLiPS.
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