Improved pharmacokinetics and reduced toxicity of brucine after encapsulation into stealth liposomes: role of phosphatidylcholine
Jun Chen,1,* Guo-jun Yan,1,* Rong-rong Hu,1 Qian-wen Gu,1 Ming-lei Chen,1 Wei Gu,1 Zhi-peng Chen,1 Bao-chang Cai1,2
1College of Pharmacy, 2Engineering Center of State Ministry of Education for Standardization of Chinese Medicine Processing, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, People's Republic of China
*These authors contributed equally to this project
Objective: Brucine was encapsulated into stealth liposomes using the ammonium sulfate gradient method to improve therapeutic index.
Materials and methods: Four brucine stealth liposomal formulations were prepared, which were made from different phosphatidylcholines (PCs) with different phase transition temperatures (Tm). The PCs used were soy phosphatidylcholine (SPC), dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine (DPPC), hydrogenated soy phosphatidylcholine (HSPC), and distearoyl phosphatidylcholine (DSPC). The stabilities, pharmacokinetics, and toxicities of these liposomal formulations were evaluated and compared.
Results: Size, zeta potential, and entrapment efficiency of brucine-loaded stealth liposomes (BSL) were not influenced by PC composition. In vitro release studies revealed that drug release rate increased with decreased Tm of PCs, especially with the presence of rat plasma. After intravenous administration, the area under the curve (AUC) values of BSL-SPC, BSL-DPPC, BSL-HSPC, and BSL-DSPC in plasma were 7.71, 9.24, 53.83, and 56.83-fold as large as that of free brucine, respectively. The LD50 values of brucine solution, BSL-SPC, BSL-DPPC, BSL-HSPC, and BSL-DSPC following intravenous injection were 13.17, 37.30, 37.69, 51.18, and 52.86 mg/kg, respectively. It was found in calcein retention experiments that the order of calcein retention in rat plasma was SPC < DPPC << HSPC < DSPC stealth liposomes.
Conclusion: PC composition could exert significant influence on the stabilities, pharmacokinetics, and toxicities of brucine-loaded stealth liposomes. DSPC or HSPC with Tm above 50°C should be used to prepare the stealth liposomal formulation for the intravenous delivery of brucine. However, it was found in the present paper that the pharmacokinetics and toxicity of BSL were not influenced by the PC composition when the Tm of the PC was in the range of –20°C to 41°C.
Keywords: brucine, stealth liposomes, phosphatidylcholine, pharmacokinetics, toxicity
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