Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 February 2011
A new sol-gel procedure using micellar solutions has been developed to immobilize local anesthetic drugs in optically transparent glass. Dibucaine was selected as a direct emission probe at 77 K for determining the forms of the anesthetic drug (free base, monoprotonated, and/or diprotonated) and its location (hydrophobic core, interfacial layer or hydrophilic region) in micelles. The photophysical properties of local anesthetics obtained in gels are compared to those in solutions. During the gelation stage, the predominant drug species was identified as free base dibucaine embedded in the hydrophobic core of neutral as well as charged micelles. This observation suggests that the micellar interface was modified by the large hydrophilic gel surface during the gelation stage. The modified micellar interface allows an increase in the partition of free base dibucaine into the hydrophobic region. At the xerogel stage, however, the collapse of micellar structure provides a direct interaction of dibucaine with the acidic gel surface, leading to a formation of diprotonated dibucaine. The results are discussed in terms of molecular basis of pharmacological implications such as drug delivery, release, and transport under microencapsulation conditions.
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