This study describes the in-silico rational design, synthesis and evaluation of cross-linked polyvinyl alcohol hydrogels containing γ-cyclodextrin (γ-CDHSAs) as platforms for the sustained release of prednisone (PDN). Through in-silico studies using semi-empirical quantum mechanical calculations, the effectiveness of 20 dicarboxylic acids to generate a specific cross-linked hydrogel capable of supporting different amounts of γ-cyclodextrin (γ-CD) was evaluated. According to the interaction energies calculated with the in-silico studies, the hydrogel made from PVA cross-linked with succinic acids (SA) was shown to be the best candidate for containing γ-CD. Later, molecular dynamics simulation studies were performed in order to evaluate the intermolecular interactions between PDN and three cross-linked hydrogel formulations with different proportions of γ-CD (2.44%, 4.76% and 9.1%). These three cross-linked hydrogels were synthesized and characterized. The loading and the subsequent release of PDN from the hydrogels were investigated. The in-silico and experimental results showed that the interaction between PDN and γ-CDHSA was mainly produced with the γ-CDs linked to the hydrogels. Thus, the unique structures and properties of γ-CDHSA demonstrated an interesting multiphasic profile that could be utilized as a promising drug carrier for controlled, sustained and localized release of PDN.
Keywords: accumulative release; crosslinking; cyclodextrins; drug delivery; prednisone; swelling; thermogravimetric analysis.