As the pharmaceutical industry continually seeks more efficient drug delivery systems, a recent study published in the Journal of Colloid and Interface Science has shed light on potential advancements in the field. Researchers Valentino Laquintana, Angela A. Lopedota, Marianna Ivone, Nunzio Denora, Massimo Franco, Gerardo Palazzo, and Luigi Gentile of the University of Bari Aldo Moro, along with the Center of Colloid and Surface Science (CSGI) in Italy, have collaborated to explore the structural effect and drug release of a celecoxib-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HP-β-CD) inclusion complex within a chitosan/PEO-PPO-PEO block copolymer matrix.

The study, with DOI 10.1016/j.jcis.2024.01.019, hypothesized that embedding HP-β-CD and the celecoxib-HP-β-CD complex into a poloxamer 407 (P407) and chitosan blend would impact the system’s structural properties and, consequently, its drug release profile. Poloxamers, particularly P407 or Pluronic® F127, are triblock copolymers of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) and poly(propylene oxide) (PPO) that have gained widespread attention for their Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and incorporation in the US and European Pharmacopoeias.

The complex nature of drug delivery systems, such as their rheological behavior, is crucial for ensuring that medications are released at a controlled rate, targeted precisely, and have improved bioavailability. This research, therefore, carries significant implications for the advancement of drug delivery technologies and could mark a substantial improvement in the treatment of various diseases.

In the study, researchers evaluated the structural effects of celecoxib, an anti-inflammatory drug, within the carrier matrix using rheological assessments, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), and dynamic light scattering (DLS) experiments. These methods provided insights into the complex interactions at play and the morphological characteristics of the hybrid delivery system.

One of the key findings of the research was that the addition of HP-β-CD inhibited gel formation in the 16 wt% P407 and chitosan blend, a critical consideration for drug delivery systems that rely on thermogelation processes. In contrast, the introduction of the celecoxib-HP-β-CD inclusion complex did not show significant structural effects as opposed to the P407/chitosan blend alone.

Rheological analysis demonstrated that the introduction of acetic acid led to a lower pH, facilitating the formation of a lamellar phase which is beneficial for injectability. Furthermore, the presence of chitosan in the acetic acid environment resulted in the formation of a hexagonal phase, influencing the release kinetics of celecoxib. This indicates the potential to fine-tune the release of the drug through structural modifications of the delivery system.

The meticulous execution of in vitro drug release studies allowed for the tracking of the drug’s release profile over time, providing valuable data on how the structural composition of the matrix impacted the drug’s bioavailability. The article highlights the innovation and its potential application in developing more effective pharmaceutical formulations that could revolutionize how medications, specifically anti-inflammatory drugs, are administered.


1. Understanding Drug Delivery Systems: Importance of Rheology and Gelation (Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research)
2. The Role of Cyclodextrin Complexes in Drug Formulation and Delivery (Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy)
3. Novel Insights into Pluronics: Polymers that Revolutionized Drug Delivery (Journal of Controlled Release)
4. Chitosan-Based Drug Delivery Systems: From Theory to Practice (Journal of Drug Delivery Science and Technology)
5. Injectable Hydrogels for Controlled Release: Applications and Advances (International Journal of Pharmaceutics)


1. Drug Delivery Systems
2. Celecoxib-HP-β-CD Complex
3. Chitosan PEO-PPO-PEO Matrix
4. Controlled Drug Release
5. Injectable Drug Formulations


This groundbreaking study signifies a leap forward in the design of controlled drug delivery systems, leveraging the properties of chitosan, PEO-PPO-PEO triblock copolymers, and cyclodextrin complexes. The research team has opened new avenues in pharmaceutical science, unveiling complex interactions that govern drug release and setting the stage for future innovations that can benefit patient care and treatment efficacy.

As the authors declare no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could influence the work, the research stands as an unbiased contribution to the pharmaceutical sciences field. Published by Elsevier Inc., the findings–with DOI 10.1016/j.jcis.2024.01.019 and article number S0021-9797(24)00019-5–offer a promising outlook for the future of drug delivery technology.