Preparation of monodisperse biodegradable polymer microparticles using a microfluidic flow-focusing device for controlled drug delivery

Small. 2009 Jul;5(13):1575-81. doi: 10.1002/smll.200801855.


Degradable microparticles have broad utility as vehicles for drug delivery and form the basis of several therapies approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Conventional emulsion-based methods of manufacturing produce particles with a wide range of diameters (and thus kinetics of release) in each batch. This paper describes the fabrication of monodisperse, drug-loaded microparticles from biodegradable polymers using the microfluidic flow-focusing (FF) devices and the drug-delivery properties of those particles. Particles are engineered with defined sizes, ranging from 10 microm to 50 microm. These particles are nearly monodisperse (polydispersity index = 3.9%). A model amphiphilic drug (bupivacaine) is incorporated within the biodegradable matrix of the particles. Kinetic analysis shows that the release of the drug from these monodisperse particles is slower than that from conventional methods of the same average size but a broader distribution of sizes and, most importantly, exhibit a significantly lower initial burst than that observed with conventional particles. The difference in the initial kinetics of drug release is attributed to the uniform distribution of the drug inside the particles generated using the microfluidic methods. These results demonstrate the utility of microfluidic FF for the generation of homogenous systems of particles for the delivery of drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Colloids / chemistry*
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / chemistry*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Lactic Acid / chemistry*
  • Materials Testing
  • Microfluidics / instrumentation*
  • Microfluidics / methods*
  • Microspheres
  • Particle Size
  • Polyglycolic Acid / chemistry*
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer


  • Colloids
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Polyglycolic Acid
  • Lactic Acid