With the purpose to replace expensive and significantly cytotoxic positively charged polypeptides in biodegradable capsules formed via Layer-by-Layer (LbL) assembly, multilayers of bovine serum albumin (BSA) and tannic acid (TA) are obtained and employed for encapsulation and release of model drugs with different solubility in water: hydrophilic-tetramethylrhodamine-isothiocyanate-labeled BSA (TRITC-BSA) and hydrophobic 3,4,9,10-tetra-(hectoxy-carbonyl)-perylene (THCP). Hydrogen bonding is proposed to be predominant within thus formed BSA/TA films. The TRITC-BSA-loaded capsules comprising 6 bilayers of the protein and polyphenol are benchmarked against the shells composed of dextran sulfate (DS) and poly-l-arginine (PARG) on degradability by two proteolytic enzymes with different cleavage site specificity (i.e., α-chymotrypsin and trypsin) and toxicity for murine RAW264.7 macrophage cells. Capsules of both types possess low cytotoxicity taken at concentrations equal or below 50 capsules per cell, and evident susceptibility to α-chymotrypsin resulted in release of TRITC-BSA. While the BSA/TA-based capsules clearly display resistance to treatment with trypsin, the assemblies of DS/PARG extensively degrade. Successful encapsulation of THCP in the TRITC-BSA/TA/BSA multilayer is confirmed, and the release of the model drug is observed in response to treatment with α-chymotrypsin. The thickness, surface morphology, and enzyme-catalyzed degradation process of the BSA/TA-based films are investigated on a planar multilayer comprising 40 bilayers of the protein and polyphenol deposited on a silicon wafer. The developed BSA/TA-based capsules with a protease-specific degradation mechanism are proposed to find applications in personal care, pharmacology, and the development of drug delivery systems including those intravenous injectable and having site-specific release capability.
The study was supported by A*STAR's Joint Council Project Grant (Project No 14302FG090), A*STAR Graduate Academy (M.V.L) and Russian Government Grant No. 14.Z50.31.0004 (M.V.L, A.M.P, D.A.G and G.B.S).