Optimization and evaluation of a thermoresponsive ophthalmic in situ gel containing curcumin-loaded albumin nanoparticles
Jie Lou,1 Wenjing Hu,2 Rui Tian,3 Hua Zhang,1 Yuntao Jia,4 Jingqing Zhang,1 Liangke Zhang1
1Chongqing Key Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, People’s Republic of China; 2Chongqing Xijiao Hospital, Chongqing, People’s Republic of China; 3The Experimental Teaching Centre, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, People’s Republic of China; 4Department of Pharmacy, Children’s Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, People’s Republic of China
Abstract: This study aimed to optimize and evaluate a thermoresponsive ophthalmic in situ gel containing curcumin-loaded albumin nanoparticles (Cur-BSA-NPs-Gel). Albumin nanoparticles were prepared via a desolvation method, and the gels were prepared via a cold method. The central composite design and response surface method was used to evaluate the effects of varying Pluronic® F127 and Pluronic® F68 concentrations on the sol–gel transition temperature, which is an indicator of optimum formulations. The optimized formulation was a free-flowing liquid below 30.9°C that transformed into a semi-solid gel above 34.2°C after dilution with simulated tear fluid. Results of the in vitro release and erosion behavior study indicated that Cur-BSA-NPs-Gel achieved superior sustained-release effects and that incorporation of albumin nanoparticles exerted minimal effects on the gel structure. In addition, in vivo ophthalmic experiments employing Cur-BSA-NPs-Gel were subsequently performed in rabbits. In vivo eye irritation results showed that Cur-BSA-NPs-Gel might be considered safe for ophthalmic drug delivery. The in vivo study also revealed that the formulation could significantly increase curcumin bioavailability in the aqueous humor. In conclusion, the optimized in situ gel formulation developed in this work has significant potential for ocular application.
Keywords: diabetic retinopathy, sustained release, ocular drug delivery, desolvation method
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