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Compound antimalarial ethosomal cataplasm: preparation, evaluation, and mechanism of penetration enhancement

Authors Shen S, Liu S, Zhang Y, Du M, Liang A, Song L, Ye Z

Received 25 February 2015

Accepted for publication 3 May 2015

Published 30 June 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 4239—4253


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lei Yang

Shuo Shen, Shu-Zhi Liu, Yu-Shi Zhang, Mao-Bo Du, Ai-Hua Liang, Li-Hua Song, Zu-Guang Ye

Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: Malaria is still a serious public health problem in some parts of the world. The problems of recurrence and drug resistance are increasingly more serious. Thus, it is necessary to develop a novel antimalarial agent. The objectives of this study were to construct a novel compound antimalarial transdermal nanosystem–ethosomal cataplasm, to investigate its characteristics and efficiency, and to systematically explore the penetration-enhancing mechanisms of ethosomal cataplasm. Artesunate-loaded ethosomes and febrifugine-loaded ethosomes were prepared, and their characteristics were evaluated. Drug-loaded ethosomes were incorporated in the matrix of cataplasm to form the compound antimalarial ethosomal cataplasm. With the help of ethosomal technology, the accumulated permeation quantity of artesunate significantly increased at 8 hours after administration, which was 1.57 times as much as that of conventional cataplasm. Soon after administration, the ethosomal cataplasm could make a large quantity of antimalarial drug quickly penetrate through skin, then the remaining drug in the ethosomal cataplasm could be steadily released. These characteristics of ethosomal cataplasm are favorable for antimalarial drugs to kill Plasmodium spp. quickly and prevent the resurgence of Plasmodium spp. As expected, the ethosomal cataplasm showed good antimalarial efficiency in this experiment. The negative conversion rates were 100% and the recurrence rates were 0% at all dosages. The mechanism of penetration enhancement of the ethosomal cataplasm was systematically explored using an optics microscope, polarization microscope, and transmission electron microscopy. The microstructure, ultrastructure, and birefringent structure in skin were observed. Data obtained in this study showed that the application of ethosomal technology to antimalarial cataplasm could improve the transdermal delivery of drug, enhance the efficacy, and facilitate practical application in clinic.

Keywords: ethosomes, transdermal drug-delivery systems, artesunate, febrifugine

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