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Physiological concentrations of albumin favor drug binding
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The ability to track drug binding and release makes electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy well suited for drug delivery studies. Using the continuous wave (cw) EPR technique to extract information about the dynamics of the spin labeled drugs we can simultaneously determine the bound and unbound drugs. Here, spin labeled salicylic acid (SLSA) binding to and release from bovine serum albumin (BSA) is investigated, as a model for drug-transport protein interaction. We studied SLSA-BSA binding in a wide concentration range and found that the stoichiometry of the drug-protein increases significantly when the physiological range of BSA concentration is reached. Our EPR results explicitly reveal that up to ∼7 SLSA can bind to one albumin at the physiological concentration, whereas at lower BSA concentrations (<0.125 mM) the SLSA-BSA stoichiometry is maximum 2. Moreover, we studied drug release and showed that the ratio of bound to unbound SLSA concentrations remains relatively stable during dialysis. This indicates that the binding equilibrium of SLSA is not altered through the process of dialysis. This study demonstrates that cw EPR spectroscopy in combination with spin labeled drugs is an effective technique for binding and release studies and stoichiometric analysis of drug-protein interactions.