How Molecular Mobility, Physical State, and Drug Distribution Influence the Naproxen Release Profile from Different Mesoporous Silica Matrices

Piedade D'Orey, Teresa Cordeiro, Mirtha A. O. Lourenço, Inês Matos, Florence Danède, João C. Sotomayor, Isabel M. Fonseca, Paula Ferreira, Natália T. Correia, Madalena Dionísio

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Aiming to evaluate how the release profile of naproxen (nap) is influenced by its physical state, molecular mobility, and distribution in the host, this pharmaceutical drug was loaded in three different mesoporous silicas differing in their architecture and surface composition. Unmodified and partially silylated MCM-41 matrices, respectively MCM-41 and MCM-41sil, and a biphenylene-bridged periodic mesoporous organic matrix, PMOBph, were synthetized and used as drug carriers, having comparable pore sizes (∼3 nm) and loading percentages (∼30% w/w). The loaded guest was investigated by attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy, powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and dielectric relaxation spectroscopy (DRS). DSC and XRD confirmed amorphization of a nap fraction incorporated inside the pores. A narrower glass transition was detected for PMOBph_nap, taken as an indication of the impact of host ordering, which also hinders the guest molecular mobility inside the pores as probed by DRS. While the PMOBph matrix is highly hydrophobic, the unmodified MCM-41 readily adsorbs water, accelerating the nap relaxation rate in the respective composite. In the dehydrated state, the faster dynamics was found for the silylated matrix since guest-host hydrogen bond interactions were inhibited to some extent by methylation. Nevertheless, in all the prepared composites, bulk-like crystalline drug deposits outside pores in a greater extent in PMOBph_nap. The DRS measurements analyzed in terms of conductivity show that, upon melting, nap easily migrates into pores in MCM-41-based composites, while it stays in the outer surface in the ordered PMOBph, determining a faster nap delivery from the latter matrix. On the other side, the mobility enhancement in the hydrated state controls the drug delivery in the unmodified MCM-41 matrix vs the silylated one. Therefore, DRS proved to be a suitable technique to disclose the influence of the ordering of the host surface and its chemical modification on the guest behavior, and, through conductivity depletion, it provides a mean to monitor the guest entrance inside the pores, easily followed even by untrained spectroscopists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)898-914
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • amorphous
  • control release
  • drug distribution
  • mesoporous Silica
  • naproxen


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