Chalcone derivatives are shown to possess excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties which are of great interest in treating respiratory diseases such as acute lung injury (ALI), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pulmonary fibrosis (PF). This study successfully designed and developed dry powder inhaler (DPI) formulations of TMC (2-trifluoromethyl-2′-methoxychalone), a new synthetic trifluorinated chalcone and Nrf2 agonist, for targeted pulmonary inhalation aerosol drug delivery. An advanced co-spray drying particle engineering technique was used to design and produce microparticulate/nanoparticulate formulations of TMC with a suitable excipient (mannitol) as inhalable particles with tailored particle properties for inhalation. Raw TMC and co-spray dried TMC formulations were comprehensively characterized for the first time using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy, thermal analysis, X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD), and molecular fingerprinting as dry powders by ATR-FTIR spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy. Further, biocompatibility and suitability of formulations were tested with in vitro cellular transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) in air-interface culture (AIC) using a human pulmonary airway cell line. The ability of these TMC formulations to perform as aerosolized dry powders was systematically evaluated by design of experiments (DOEs) using three different FDA-approved human inhaler devices followed by interaction parameter analyses. Multiple spray drying pump rates (25%, 75%, and 100%) successfully produced co-spray dried TMC:mannitol powders. Raw TMC exhibited a first-order phase transition temperature at 58.15 ± 0.38 °C. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that these innovative TMC dry powder particles are suitable for targeted delivery to the airways by inhalation.
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