Textural, viscoelastic and mucoadhesive properties of pharmaceutical gels composed of cellulose polymers

David Jones, David Woolfson, A.F. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

246 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the mechanical/textural, viscoeiastic and mucoadhesive properties of a range of aqueous gels composed of either hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC) or sodium carboxymethylcellulose (Na CMC). The mechanical/textural properties of each formulation were determined using texture profile analysis. The viscoelastic properties of each formulation were examined over a defined frequency range (0.01-1.0 Hz) using oscillatory rheometry in conjunction with stainless steel parallel plate geometry. The mucoadhesive properties of the gels were evaluated by measuring the tensile force required to overcome the gel/mucin adhesive interaction. Both gel hardness and compressibility, properties that affect the ease of product removal from a container and spreadability, increased as a function of increasing polymer concentrations. This is attributed to the effects of HEC and Na CMC on gel viscosity. Gel adhesiveness, a property related to bioadhesion, also increased as a function of polymer concentration and is attributed to the reported adhesive nature of these polymers. Increasing frequency of oscillation increased the storage and loss moduli yet decreased bath the dynamic viscosity of each gel type and also the loss tangent of HEC (but not Na CMC) gels. Therefore, following exposure to the range of oscillatory stresses that may be expected in vivo, HEC gels will be more susceptible than Na CMC gels to alterations in these rheological properties. Consequently, it would be expected that the clinical performance of HEC gels will be modified to a greater extent than Na CMC gels. In general, HEC gels exhibited a greater elastic nature than Na CMC gels over the frequency range employed for oscillation The storage and loss moduli and dynamic viscosity of both gel types increased, yet the loss tangent of both gel types decreased as a function of increasing polymer concentration. Gel mucoadhesive strength was dependent on both the time of contact of the formulation with mucin and also on polymer concentration. In conclusion, this study has characterised a number of gels containing either HEC or Na CMC in terms of their mechanical/textural, viscoelastic and mucoadhesive properties. Due to its relevance to the clinical performance, it is suggested that the information derived from these methods may be usefully combined to provide a more rational basis for the selection of polymers and their formulation as topical drug delivery systems. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-233
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Publication statusPublished - 1997

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