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Papers of the Week

Papers: 7 May 2022 - 13 May 2022

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2022 May 08

Acta Biomater

Designer Self-assembling Peptide Nanofibers Induce Biomineralization of Lidocaine for Slow-Release and Prolonged Analgesia.


Peng F, Liu J, Zhang Y, Fan J, Gong D, He L, Zhang W, Qiu F
Acta Biomater. 2022 May 08.
PMID: 35545185.


The burst release of small molecular water-soluble drugs is a major problem when pursuing their long-acting formulations. Although various types of carrier materials have been developed for tackling this problem, it is still a big challenge to prevent water-soluble small molecules from fast release and diffusion. In this study, a biomineralization strategy based upon a self-assembling peptide is proposed for the slow release of lidocaine, a classic anesthetic with high solubility and a very small molecular weight. A bolaamphiphilic peptide was designed to self-assemble and produce negatively charged nanofibers, which were used as the template to absorb positively charged lidocaine molecules through an electrostatic interaction. The biomineralization of lidocaine was then induced by adjusting the pH, which lead to the formation of lidocaine microcrystals with a homogenous size. The microcrystals were incorporated into a hyaluronic acid hydrogel to form an injectable formulation. This formulation slowly released lidocaine and generate a prolonged anesthetic and analgesic effect in rodent models. Due to the constrained local and plasma lidocaine concentration, as well as the biocompatibility and biodegradability of the peptide materials, this formulation also showed considerable safety. These results suggest that nanofiber assisted biomineralization can provide a potential strategy for the fabrication of long-acting formulations for small molecular water-soluble drugs. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Long-acting formulations are highly pursued to achieve stronger therapeutic effect, or to avoid repeated administration of drugs, especially through painful injection. Using carrier materials to slow down the release of bioactive molecules is a common strategy to reach this goal. However, for many water-soluble small molecular drugs currently used in clinic, it is notoriously difficult to slow down their release and diffusion. This study proposes a novel strategy based on a controllable mineralization process using self-assembling peptide nanofibers as the template. Taking lidocaine as an example, we showed how peptide-drug microcrystals with well-controlled size and shape could be obtained, which exhibit significantly prolonged anesthetic and analgesic effect. As a proof-of-concept study, this work proposes a promising strategy to control the release of water-soluble small molecular drugs.