γ-Cyclodextrin

Abstract

γ-Cyclodextrin (γCD) is a cyclic oligosaccharide formed by bacterial digestion of starch and used as solubilizing agent and stabilizer in a variety of pharmaceutical and food products. γCD is a large (molecular weight 1297Da) hydrophilic molecule that does not readily permeate biological membranes and is rapidly digested by bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. In humans γCD is metabolized by α-amylase that is found in, for example, saliva, bile fluid and tears. Thus, bioavailability of γCD is negligible. Also, γCD is readily excreted unchanged in the urine after parenteral administration. Like other cyclodextrins, γCD can form water-soluble inclusion complexes with many poorly-soluble compounds. In comparison with the natural αCD and βCD, γCD has the largest hydrophobic cavity, highest water solubility and the most favorable toxicological profile. The focus of this review is production, physiochemical properties, pharmacokinetics, toxicity and applications of γCD and its derivatives. Also, the aggregation behavior of γCD in aqueous media is discussed.