Hydrocortisone sodium succinate (HSS) is an anti-inflammatory drug, but its application on ulcerative colitis (UC) treatment is limited by its associated side-effects. To solve this problem, a kind of pH-sensitive P(LE-IA-MEG) hydrogel microspheres (HMSs) were prepared as the drug carrier of hydrocortisone sodium succinate (HSS) for the treatment of UC. The P(LE-IA-MEG) HMSs were spherical in shape with good dispersion and the mean particle size was 34.87 ± 0.90 µm. HSS was successfully loaded into the P(LE-IA-MEG) HMSs. Therelease study of HSS-loaded HMSs (HSS-HMSs) revealed that the HSS-HMSs possessed desirable pH-sensitivity, the cumulative release rate was 4.07% and 94.64% in the solution with pH 1.2 and pH 7.4 solution during 12 h, respectively. Furthermore, the study on pharmacokinetic, gastrointestinal drug residue and side-effects were conducted to evaluate the colon-targeting property of the HSS-HMSs. All the results showed that the HSS-HMSs could deliver HSS to the colon as well as reduce its premature absorption in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Finally, the HSS-HMSs showed better ameliorative effects and therapeutic effects on mice with experimental colitis as compared to HSS. In conclusion, the HSS-HMSs had great potential in the treatment of UC.
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