Aiming to rationalize the release profile of an incorporated pharmaceutical drug in terms of its mobility, driven by guest-host interactions, the poorly water-soluble ibuprofen drug was loaded in a mesoporous inorganic silica matrix with unmodified (MCM-41) and modified surface (MCM-41sil) by post-synthesis silylation, both having pore sizes ~ 3 nm. The single calorimetric detection of a broad glass transition step for both ibuprofen composites indicates full drug amorphization, confirmed by the only appearance of an amorphous halo in the powder XRD patterns. Moreover, a gradient profile is disclosed by the heat flux derivative plot in the glass transition, in coherence with the thermogravimetric profile that shows a multi-step decomposition trace for confined ibuprofen in these matrixes. While identical guest dynamics, as probed by dielectric relaxation spectroscopy, were found in both dehydrated composites, a significant molecular population with faster relaxation exists in the hydrated state for the drug inside the unmodified matrix. This was rationalized as the concurrence of true confinement effects, which manifest under nanometer dimensions, and greater water affinity of the unmodified matrix, forcing the drug molecules to be placed mostly in the pore core. Finite size effects are also felt in both dehydrated composites, however guest-host interactions give origin to a dominant population with slowed down mobility that governs the overall guest dynamics. In spite of an inferior number of active sites for drug adsorption in the silylated matrix, a faster ibuprofen delivery in phosphate buffer (pH = 6.8) was observed when the drug is released from unmodified MCM-41 in the hydrated state. Therefore, our results suggest that a relevant role is played by water molecules, which impair a strong guest adsorption in the host surface more efficiently than the limited surface modification, influence the higher ratio of a faster population in the pore core and facilitate the diffusion of the aqueous releasing media inside pores.
- Amorphous materials
- Dielectric spectroscopy
- Drug delivery
- Magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic spectroscopy