Solute Crystallization in Mannitol-Glycine Systems - Implications on Protein Stabilization in Freeze-Dried Formulations

Abira Pyne, Koustuv Chatterjee, Raj Suryanarayanan

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The use of mannitol in combination with glycine has resulted in stable freeze-dried protein formulations. Our objectives were to (1) study solute crystallization in ternary systems containing mannitol, glycine, and water duringall the stages of freeze drying as a function of processing conditions and formulation variables; (2) investigate the effect of sodium phosphate buffer salts on the crystallization of both mannitol and glycine and vice versa; and (3) investigate the effects of these excipients in a freeze-dried lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) formulation. X-ray powder diffractometry (XRD) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) were used to study the frozen aqueous solutions. Phase transitions during primary and secondary drying were monitored by simulating the entire freeze-drying process in situ in the sample chamber of the diffractometer. LDH activity after freeze drying was determined spectrophotometrically. In frozen aqueous solutions containing mannitol and glycine, each solute influenced the extent of crystallization of the other. The solutes crystallized as δ-mannitol and β-glycine during primary drying. Glycine had a stronger tendency to crystallize, while it was easier to influence mannitol crystallization. The buffer salts inhibited the crystallization of mannitol and glycine. However, in some cases, during primary drying, glycine crystallization was followed by that of disodium hydrogen phosphate dodecahydrate. The latter underwent dehydration forming an amorphous anhydrate. It was possible to correlate the extent of crystallization of mannitol and glycine in the lyophile with the retention of protein activity. An increase in buffer concentration decreased the crystallinity of mannitol and glycine. This translated to increased retention of protein activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2272-2283
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr. John Carpenter and Dr. Evgenyi Y. Shalaev for their valuable comments. A.P. was partially funded by a grant from PDA and ISWOP, University of Minnesota.


  • Crystallization
  • Freeze drying
  • Glycine
  • Lyoprotectants
  • Mannitol
  • Sodium phosphate buffers


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