Controlled Release from Zein Matrices: Interplay of Drug Hydrophobicity and pH

Jacob Bouman*, Peter Belton, Paul Venema, Erik Van Der Linden, Renko De Vries, Sheng Qi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: In earlier studies, the corn protein zein is found to be suitable as a sustained release agent, yet the range of drugs for which zein has been studied remains small. Here, zein is used as a sole excipient for drugs differing in hydrophobicity and isoelectric point: indomethacin, paracetamol and ranitidine. Methods: Caplets were prepared by hot-melt extrusion (HME) and injection moulding (IM). Each of the three model drugs were tested on two drug loadings in various dissolution media. The physical state of the drug, microstructure and hydration behaviour were investigated to build up understanding for the release behaviour from a zein based matrix for drug delivery. Results: Drug crystallinity of the caplets increases with drug hydrophobicity. For ranitidine and indomethacin, swelling rates, swelling capacity and release rates were pH dependent as a consequence of the presence of charged groups on the drug molecules. Both hydration rates and release rates could be approached by existing models. Conclusion: The drug state and pH dependant electrostatic interactions are hypothesised to influence release kinetics. Both factors can potentially be used to influence release kinetics release, thereby broadening the horizon for zein as a tuneable release agent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-685
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • controlled release
  • diffusion mechanism
  • dissolution kinetics modelling
  • extrusion-injection moulding
  • Zein


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