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Recent insights into the biological activities and drug delivery systems of tanshinones

Authors Cai Y, Zhang W, Chen Z, Shi Z, He C, Chen M

Received 5 March 2015

Accepted for publication 28 April 2015

Published 5 January 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 121—130


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas Webster

Yuee Cai,1,* Wenji Zhang,2,* Zirong Chen,3 Zhi Shi,1,2 Chengwei He,1 Meiwan Chen1

1State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau, Macau, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Cell Biology & Institute of Biomedicine, National Engineering Research Center of Genetic Medicine, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Bioengineering Medicine, College of Life Science and Technology, Jinan University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Shands Cancer Center, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Tanshinones, the major lipid-soluble pharmacological constituents of the Chinese medicinal herb Tanshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza), have attracted growing scientific attention because of the prospective biomedical applications of these compounds. Numerous pharmacological activities, including anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and cardio-cerebrovascular protection activities, are exhibited by the three primary bioactive constituents among the tanshinones, ie, tanshinone I (TNI), tanshinone IIA (TNIIA), and cryptotanshinone (CPT). However, due to their poor solubility and low dissolution rate, the clinical applications of TNI, TNIIA, and CPT are limited. To solve these problems, many studies have focused on loading tanshinones into liposomes, nanoparticles, microemulsions, cyclodextrin inclusions, solid dispersions, and so on. In this review, we aim to offer an updated summary of the biological activities and drug delivery systems of tanshinones to provide a reference for these constituents in clinical applications.

tanshinones, biological activities, drug delivery systems, bioavailability, solubility

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