Research ArticlesProperties and Stability of a Liquid Crystal Form of Cyclosporine—The First Reported Naturally Occurring Peptide That Exists as a Thermotropic Liquid Crystal
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AbstractA new solid-state form of cyclosporine produced by spray-drying exhibited characteristics consistent with a liquid crystal. No sharp diffraction peaks were observed by powder X-ray diffraction; however, analysis by both small-angle X-ray diffraction (SAXR) and microscopic under polarized light (PLM) confirmed the existence of two-dimensional ordered liquid crystal. Hot stage microscopy revealed a solid-to-liquid transition, in the range of 118 to 125°C. Moreover, the solid-to-liquid transition showed frequency dependence by dielectric analysis (DEA), and was coincidental with a stepwise heat capacity change measured by differential scanning Calorimetry (DSC). The two-dimensional order was maintained above the solid-to-liquid transition temperature indicated by low-angle diffraction by SAXR and birefringence by PLM. However, birefringence was lost at temperatures above 170°C, indicating the conversion of the liquid crystal into an isotropic liquid. In situ annealing experiments, by DSC, revealed the presence of an endotherm, unexplained by either a phase transition or solvent loss, and it is believed to be the result of a structural rearrangement that has no impact on the macroscopic properties of the material. Spray-dried cyclosporine at room temperature is therefore a frozen thermotropic liquid crystal due to the presence of two-dimensional order and the lack of substantial residual solvent. This is, to our knowledge, the first report of the existence of a thermotropic liquid crystal of a naturally occurring peptide. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc. and the American Pharmacists Association.

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