Influence of salt type and ionic strength on self-assembly of dextran sulfate-ciprofloxacin nanoplexes
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We evaluated an analytical setup to identify optimal preparation conditions for nanoplex formation of small molecule drugs and polyelectrolytes using ciprofloxacin (CIP) and dextran sulfate (DS) as model compounds. The suitability of isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) as a screening tool for rational formulation optimization was assessed. Besides ITC, static and dynamic light scattering, zeta potential measurements and scanning electron microscopy were applied to analyze the influence of different salt types and ionic strengths on CIP/DS nanoplex formation. The addition of low amounts of salt, especially 0.1M NaCl, improved the formation of CIP/DS nanoplexes. The presence of low amounts of salt led to smaller and more numerous particles of higher uniformity but had no influence on the release of CIP from nanoplexes. Furthermore, the molar range, within which efficient complexation was achieved, was broader in the presence of 0.1M NaCl than in the absence of salt with overall comparable complexation efficiency. Importantly, binding affinity correlated with particle shape and morphology, potentially enabling optimization of critical quality attributes based on ITC data. Altogether, ITC along with supplemental methods is a versatile screening tool for the evaluation of nanoplex formulation conditions regarding mixing ratio, salt type and ionic strength.