The need for temporal-spatial control over the release of biologically active molecules has motivated efforts to engineer novel drug delivery-on-demand strategies actuated via light irradiation. Many systems, however, have been limited to in vitro proof-of-concept due to biocompatibility issues with the photo-responsive moieties or the light wavelength, intensity, and duration. To overcome these limitations, this paper describes a light actuated drug delivery-on-demand strategy that uses visible and near-infrared (NIR) light and biocompatible chromophores: cardiogreen, methylene blue, and riboflavin. All three chromophores are capable of significant photothermal reaction upon exposure to NIR and visible light, and the amount of temperature change is dependent upon light intensity, wavelength as well as chromophore concentration. Pulsatile release of bovine serum albumin (BSA) from thermally responsive hydrogels was achieved over 4 days. These findings have the potential to translate light-actuated drug delivery-on-demand systems from the bench to clinical applications that require explicit control over the presentation of biologically active molecules.
Keywords: Cardiogreen; Methylene blue; Near-infrared light; Photothermal effect; Riboflavin; Triggered release; Visible light.