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The Potential Of Chitosan In Ocular Drug Delivery

María José Alonso, Alejandro Sánchez

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Abstract This paper presents an overview of the potential of chitosan-based systems for improving the retention and biodistribution of drugs applied topically onto the eye. Besides its low toxicity and good ocular tolerance, chitosan exhibits favourable biological behaviour, such as bioadhesion- and permeability-enhancing properties, and also interesting physico-chemical characteristics, which make it a unique material for the design of ocular drug delivery vehicles. The review summarizes the techniques for the production of chitosan gels, chitosan-coated colloidal systems and chitosan nanoparticles, and describes their mechanism of action upon contact with the ocular mucosa. The results reported until now have provided evidence of the potential of chitosan gels for enhancing and prolonging the retention of drugs on the eye surface. On the other hand, chitosan-based colloidal systems were found to work as transmucosal drug carriers, either facilitating the transport of drugs to the inner eye (chitosan-coated colloidal systems containing indometacin) or their accumulation into the corneal/conjunctival epithelia (chitosan nanoparticles containing ciclosporin). Finally, the tolerance, toxicity and biodegradation of the carriers under evaluation were reviewed.