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Concept: Amorphous solid


Tridymite, a low-pressure, high-temperature (>870 °C) SiO2 polymorph, was detected in a drill sample of laminated mudstone (Buckskin) at Marias Pass in Gale crater, Mars, by the Chemistry and Mineralogy X-ray diffraction instrument onboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity The tridymitic mudstone has ∼40 wt.% crystalline and ∼60 wt.% X-ray amorphous material and a bulk composition with ∼74 wt.% SiO2 (Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer analysis). Plagioclase (∼17 wt.% of bulk sample), tridymite (∼14 wt.%), sanidine (∼3 wt.%), cation-deficient magnetite (∼3 wt.%), cristobalite (∼2 wt.%), and anhydrite (∼1 wt.%) are the mudstone crystalline minerals. Amorphous material is silica-rich (∼39 wt.% opal-A and/or high-SiO2 glass and opal-CT), volatile-bearing (16 wt.% mixed cation sulfates, phosphates, and chlorides-perchlorates-chlorates), and has minor TiO2 and Fe2O3T oxides (∼5 wt.%). Rietveld refinement yielded a monoclinic structural model for a well-crystalline tridymite, consistent with high formation temperatures. Terrestrial tridymite is commonly associated with silicic volcanism, and detritus from such volcanism in a “Lake Gale” catchment environment can account for Buckskin’s tridymite, cristobalite, feldspar, and any residual high-SiO2 glass. These cogenetic detrital phases are possibly sourced from the Gale crater wall/rim/central peak. Opaline silica could form during diagenesis from high-SiO2 glass, as amorphous precipitated silica, or as a residue of acidic leaching in the sediment source region or at Marias Pass. The amorphous mixed-cation salts and oxides and possibly the crystalline magnetite (otherwise detrital) are primary precipitates and/or their diagenesis products derived from multiple infiltrations of aqueous solutions having variable compositions, temperatures, and acidities. Anhydrite is post lithification fracture/vein fill.

Concepts: Crystallography, Chemistry, Sedimentary rock, Mineral, Solid, Quartz, Silicon dioxide, Amorphous solid


Tardigrades are microscopic animals that survive a remarkable array of stresses, including desiccation. How tardigrades survive desiccation has remained a mystery for more than 250 years. Trehalose, a disaccharide essential for several organisms to survive drying, is detected at low levels or not at all in some tardigrade species, indicating that tardigrades possess potentially novel mechanisms for surviving desiccation. Here we show that tardigrade-specific intrinsically disordered proteins (TDPs) are essential for desiccation tolerance. TDP genes are constitutively expressed at high levels or induced during desiccation in multiple tardigrade species. TDPs are required for tardigrade desiccation tolerance, and these genes are sufficient to increase desiccation tolerance when expressed in heterologous systems. TDPs form non-crystalline amorphous solids (vitrify) upon desiccation, and this vitrified state mirrors their protective capabilities. Our study identifies TDPs as functional mediators of tardigrade desiccation tolerance, expanding our knowledge of the roles and diversity of disordered proteins involved in stress tolerance.

Concepts: Gene, Solid, Silicon dioxide, Glass, Glass transition, Tardigrade, Trehalose, Amorphous solid


The purposes of this study were to assess the efficiency of different nifedipine amorphous solid dispersions (ASDs) in achieving and maintaining supersaturation and to investigate the solubility-permeability interplay when increasing the apparent solubility via ASD formulations. Spray-dried ASDs of nifedipine in three different hydrophilic polymers, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose acetate succinate (HPMC-AS), copovidone, and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), were prepared and characterized by powder X-ray diffraction and differential scanning calorimetry. The ability of these formulations to achieve and maintain supersaturation over 24 h was assessed. Then, nifedipine’s apparent intestinal permeability was investigated as a function of increasing supersaturation in the parallel artificial membrane permeability assay model and in the single-pass rat intestinal perfusion model. The efficiency of the different ASDs to achieve and maintain supersaturation of nifedipine was found to be highly polymer dependent; while a dispersion in HPMC-AS enabled supersaturation 20× that of the crystalline aqueous solubility, a dispersion in copovidone enabled 10×, and PVP allowed supersaturation of only 5× that of the crystalline solubility. Nifedipine flux across the intestine from supersaturated solutions was increased, and the apparent intestinal permeability was constant, irrespective of the degree of supersaturation or the polymer being used. In conclusion, while with other solubility-enabling approaches (e.g., surfactants, cyclodextrins, cosolvents), it is not enough to increase the apparent solubility, but to strike the optimal solubility-permeability balance, which limits the chances for successful drug delivery, the amorphous form emerges as a more advantageous strategy, in which higher apparent solubility (i.e., supersaturation) will be readily translated into higher drug flux and overall absorption.

Concepts: Polymer, Solubility, Solid, Differential scanning calorimetry, Glass, Glass transition, Supersaturation, Amorphous solid


Adenomatoid odontogenic tumor (AOT) is an uncommon benign epithelial lesion of odontogenic origin and, thus far, only few studies regarding the frequency of its many histopathologic features have been published in the literature. Thus, the aim of this study was to perform a retrospective analysis in a case series of AOT, with emphasis on the histopathological features. Fifteen cases of AOT were studied considering their clinical, radiographic and histopathologic aspects. Twelve cases affected females and the mean age was 16.2 years. The anterior maxilla was the most common site (66.6 %) and radiographically most cases showed a unilocular radiolucency with well-defined borders (57.1 %). Histologically, most cases exhibited predominantly a solid growth pattern (46.7 %) or a similar proportion of solid and cribriform patterns (46.7 %). Eosinophilic amorphous material (“tumor droplets”) was found in all cases (100 %). Most tumors showed duct-like spaces (93.3 %) and convoluted structures (60.0 %) whereas a minor proportion of cases presented calcifying epithelial odontogenic tumor (CEOT)-like areas (26.7 %). Variable amounts of calcified material were found in most AOTs (80.0 %) whereas osteodentin and perivascular hyalinization were seen only rarely (6.7 % each one). Five (33.3 %) cases had areas mimicking a dentigerous cyst and most of these were diagnosed in females (80.0 %). Regarding the histopathologic features, our results suggest that AOTs usually show predominance of solid pattern or a similar proportion of solid and cribriform patterns while osteodentin and perivascular hyalinization are rarely seen in these tumors. In addition, areas mimicking a dentigerous cyst and CEOT-like areas are relatively infrequent findings in AOTs.

Concepts: Cancer, Anatomical pathology, Histology, Histopathology, Benign tumor, Glass, Amorphous solid, Dentigerous cyst


The co-processing of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) with an excipient which has a high glass transition temperature (Tg) is a recognised strategy to stabilise the amorphous form of a drug. This work investigates whether co-processing a model API, sulfadimidine (SDM) with a series of low Tg excipients prevents or reduces amorphisation of the crystalline drug. It was hypothesised that these excipients could exert a Tg lowering effect, resulting in composite Tg values lower than that of the API alone and promote crystallisation of the drug. Milled SDM and co-milled SDM with glutaric acid (GA), adipic acid (AA), succinic acid (SA) and malic acid (MA) were characterised with respect to their thermal, X-Ray diffraction, spectroscopic and vapour sorption properties. SDM was predominantly amorphous when milled alone, with an amorphous content of 82 %. No amorphous content was detected by dynamic vapour sorption (DVS) on co-milling SDM with 50 % w/w GA, and amorphous content of the API was reduced by almost 30 %, relative to the API milled alone, on co-milling with 50 % w/w AA. In contrast, amorphisation of SDM was promoted on co-milling with 50 % w/w SA and MA, as indicated by near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy. Results indicated that the API was completely amorphised in the SDM:MA co-milled composite. The saturated solubility of GA and AA in the amorphous API was estimated by thermal methods. It was observed that the Tg of the co-melt quenched composites reached a minimum and levelled out at this solubility concentration. Maximum crystallinity of API on co-milling was reached at excipient concentrations comparable to the saturated concentration solubility of excipient in the API. Moreover, the closer the Hildebrand solubility parameter of the excipient to the API, the greater was the inhibition of API amorphisation on co-milling. The results reported here indicate that an excipient with a low Tg coupled with high solubility in the API can prevent or reduce the generation of an amorphous phase on co-milling. Keywords: glass transition, amorphous, co-milling, solubility, excipient, thermal methods, vapour sorption, X- Ray diffraction.

Concepts: Temperature, Solubility, Composite material, Glass, Glass transition, Amorphous solid, Glutaric acid, Succinic acid


Amorphous solid dispersions of clotrimazole in the polymer Kollidon VA64 were prepared as films in concentrations from 0% to 100% in 10% by weight increments. Nanoindentation was performed on each film at 18% and 49% relative humidity to assess the effect of drug loading and humidity on the mechanical properties of the solid dispersions. Although the addition of clotrimazole to the polymer reduces the glass transition temperature of the system as measured by differential scanning calorimetry, the hardness, reduced elastic modulus, and storage modulus were found to increase to values greater than those of either pure component up to drug loadings of approximately 60% by weight. Further addition of clotrimazole to the system resulted in decreased hardness and moduli with increased drug load. Dynamic vapor sorption of the dispersions shows that the hygroscopicity of the system is reduced as clotrimazole is added to the polymer.

Concepts: Thermodynamics, Solid, Physical quantities, Differential scanning calorimetry, Silicon dioxide, Glass, Glass transition, Amorphous solid


DSC thermograms of solid state pure proteins often show a distinct endotherm at a temperature far below the glass transition temperature of the system (Tg). We hypothesized this endotherm represents enthalpy recovery associated with an internal mobility transition of the protein molecule. Although the existence of an internal transition has been postulated, whether this endotherm is associated with such a transition has not previously been discussed. The purpose of this study was to investigate the origin of the pre-Tg endotherm in lyophilized bovine serum albumin (BSA). Due to strong glass behavior, the system Tg was determined by extrapolating Tg data of disaccharide/BSA formulations to zero saccharide. A small pre-Tg endotherm around 40-60°C was observed in amorphous BSA equilibrated at 11%RH. The apparent activation energy suggested the endotherm was “α-mobility”-related. A solid state hydrogen/deuterium exchange study using FTIR was conducted over a temperature range spanning the endotherm. We found a fast phase, followed by essentially a plateau level which is highly temperature dependent in the 40-60°C range, suggesting enhanced internal protein motion as the system passes through the temperature range of the endotherm. These results suggest the pre-Tg endotherm is associated with a protein internal mobility transition.

Concepts: Proteins, Temperature, Thermodynamics, Serum albumin, Liquid, Glass, Glass transition, Amorphous solid


The postulated glass-liquid transition of low density amorphous ice (LDA) is investigated with deuteron NMR stimulated echo experiments. Such experiments give access to ultra-slow reorientations of water molecules on time scales expected for structural relaxation of glass formers close to the glass-liquid transition temperature. An involved data analysis is necessary to account for signal contributions originating from a gradual crystallization to cubic ice. Even if some ambiguities remain, our findings support the view that pressure amorphized LDA ices are of glassy nature and undergo a glass-liquid transition before crystallization.

Concepts: Crystal, Water, Solid, Liquid, Glass, Glass transition, Amorphous solid, Physics of glass


The goal of this study was to demonstrate that MK-0364 solid dispersions can be developed as a means to increase the solubility and bioavailability of a poorly water-soluble drug, MK-0364. The potential solid dispersions would enable an oral solid dosage form as a monotherapy or combination product of MK-0364. Preliminary screening included sample preparation via a solvent casting method, physical characterization, and in vitro dissolution testing. Lead formulations were subsequently manufactured using hot melt extrusion (HME) and spray-drying (SD). All HME (without polyvinyl pyrrolidone) and SD formulations exhibit characteristics of a single phase glass including an amorphous halo when analyzed with X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD), a single glass transition temperature (Tg) measured with differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and supersaturation when dissolved in dissolution media. The oral absorption of MK-0364 from selected HME and SD formulations in monkeys results in marginally greater exposure with a consistently longer Tmax relative to a liquid filled capsule reference. Based on the processability, physical characterization, in vitro dissolution, and animal pharmacokinetic results, copovidone- and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose acetate succinate (HPMCAS)-based solid dispersion formulations are viable product concepts. The physical stability of both the solid dispersion formulations was also evaluated for 54 weeks under different conditions. The copovidone-based solid dispersion requires protection from moisture.

Concepts: Temperature, Solid, Liquid, Phase transition, Differential scanning calorimetry, Glass, Glass transition, Amorphous solid


Hot-melt extrusion is gaining importance for the production of amorphous solid solutions; in parallel, predictive tools for estimating drug solubility in polymers are increasingly demanded. The Hansen solubility parameter (SP) approach is well acknowledged for its predictive power of the miscibility of liquids as well as the solubility of some amorphous solids in liquid solvents. By solely using the molecular structure, group contribution (GC) methods allow the calculation of Hansen SPs. The GC parameter sets available were derived from liquids and polymers which conflicts with the object of prediction, the solubility of solid drugs. The present study takes a step from the liquid based SPs towards their application to solid solutes. On the basis of published experimental Hansen SPs of solid drugs and excipients only, a new GC parameter set was developed. In comparison to established parameter sets by van Krevelen/Hoftyzer, Beerbower/Hansen, Breitkreutz and Stefanis/Panayiotou, the new GC parameter set provides the highest overall predictive power for solubility experiments (correlation coefficient r=-0.87 to -0.91) as well as for literature data on melt extrudates and casted films (r=-0.78 to -0.96).

Concepts: Solubility, Solid, Viscosity, Liquid, Glass, Glass transition, Phases of matter, Amorphous solid