Novel guar crosslinkers for improved ophthalmic solutions
In-situ chain extension of polymers used in the formulation of artificial tears and mild gelation are techniques to increase the residence time of eye drops on cornea. In-situ chain extension also helps to control the stability of ophthalmic emulsions both in the bottle and in the tear film. In this work, the interaction of hydrophobically modified guar and tear proteins as a method of polymer chain extension and mild gelation has been evaluated. Guar and its derivatives have been found to be very effective for ophthalmic applications. The ideal guar gelation agent is the one that turns on the gelation upon introduction onto the eye and that gelation chemistry is biocompatible and biodegradable. Controllable gelation is desirable to have relatively low viscosity eye drops for easy application and the drops form weak gels in the eye. One recent strategy to cure dry eye disease is to include emulsions in lubricant eye drops. The idea is to supplement the natural lipid layer on the exterior surface of the tear film. Formulating artificial tear emulsions is relatively complicated and must satisfy conflicting criteria. Emulsion droplets should be stable over the period of their shelf life without creaming or aggregate formation. On the other hand, in the tear film the emulsion droplets must cream fast enough and deposit onto the water/lipid film interface on the exterior surface of the tear film. Thus, the emulsion must be stable but not too stable. Initially, science-based design rules were proposed for the development of future generations of lubricant eye drops. The effect of guar molecular weight and concentration on emulsion stability was evaluated. According to the concentration-molecular weight plot, polymer solutions can be divided into stable and unstable regions. They are defined based on the critical flocculation concentration (CFC) and critical viscosity concentration (C*). Inverted QCM-D has been proposed as a simple and fast method to define the stability of oil in water emulsion systems. This technique is a promising alternative for time consuming conventional creaming experiments. Low molecular weight guar can be optimized to out-perform high molecular weight guars without the complications of formulating eye drops with high molecular weight polymers. Hydroxypropyl guar samples were oxidized and modified with linear alkyl amines to give a series of hydrophobically modified guars (MGuars). Lysozyme and human serum albumin (HSA), natural tear proteins, are able to extend the effective chain length of MGuar through polymer/protein complex formation. Hydrophobic modifications on guar enable efficient interaction with proteins, through their mutual hydrophobic characteristics. The interaction of proteins with various alkyl chain lengths, degrees of substitution and a range of molecular weights were examined. Binding and rheological measurements were employed to evaluate the interactions efficiency. Our results suggest that higher degrees of substitution and longer alkyl chain length give higher viscosity values. Lowering molecular weight allows for higher concentration, while keeping the initial viscosity constant. Higher viscosity was achieved as the chain extension occurred. The influence of hydrophobic modification and molecular weight variation on lubrication behavior of MGuars has also been determined. Hydrophobic modification enhanced the lubrication between hydrophobic surfaces. However, saturation of hydrophobes with protein abolished the lubricity.