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Pharmaceutics, Volume 11, Issue 1 (January 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Cationic functionalized imatinib nanocrystals were prepared via polydopamine coating to achieve [...] Read more.
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Open AccessMeeting Report
Advances in Drug Delivery and Biomaterials: Facts and Vision
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010048
Received: 7 January 2019 / Accepted: 8 January 2019 / Published: 21 January 2019
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Abstract
Drug delivery and biomaterials are different fields of science but, at the same time, are tightly related and intertwined. The 2018 CRS Italy Chapter Annual Workshop aims to explore recent advances in design and development in these areas. Many colleagues from Europe participated [...] Read more.
Drug delivery and biomaterials are different fields of science but, at the same time, are tightly related and intertwined. The 2018 CRS Italy Chapter Annual Workshop aims to explore recent advances in design and development in these areas. Many colleagues from Europe participated to the Workshop, stimulating the discussion. To foster the discussion on recent research and networking opportunities, especially among younger attendees, all poster-presenting authors were asked to provide a short talk. The very friendly and stimulating atmosphere allowed the attendees to explore new frontiers and tackle new horizons. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Targeted Transfection Using PEGylated Cationic Liposomes Directed Towards P-Selectin Increases siRNA Delivery into Activated Endothelial Cells
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010047
Received: 20 December 2018 / Revised: 17 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 21 January 2019
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Abstract
: The progress in small-interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics depends on the development of suitable nanocarriers to perform specific and effective delivery to dysfunctional cells. In this paper, we questioned whether P-selectin, a cell adhesion molecule specifically expressed on the surface of activated endothelial [...] Read more.
: The progress in small-interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics depends on the development of suitable nanocarriers to perform specific and effective delivery to dysfunctional cells. In this paper, we questioned whether P-selectin, a cell adhesion molecule specifically expressed on the surface of activated endothelial cells (EC) could be employed as a target for nanotherapeutic intervention. To this purpose, we developed and characterized P-selectin targeted PEGylated cationic liposomes able to efficiently pack siRNA and to function as efficient vectors for siRNA delivery to tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) activated EC. Targeted cationic liposomes were obtained by coupling a peptide with high affinity for P-selectin to a functionalized PEGylated phospholipid inserted in the liposomes’ bilayer (Psel-lipo). As control, scrambled peptide coupled cationic liposomes (Scr-lipo) were used. The lipoplexes obtained by complexation of Psel-lipo with siRNA (Psel-lipo/siRNA) were taken up specifically and at a higher extent by TNF-α activated b.End3 endothelial cells as compared to non-targeted Scr-lipo/siRNA. The Psel-lipo/siRNA delivered with high efficiency siRNA into the cells. The lipoplexes were functional as demonstrated by the down-regulation of the selected gene (GAPDH). The results demonstrate an effective targeted delivery of siRNA into cultured activated endothelial cells using P-selectin directed PEGylated cationic liposomes, which subsequently knock-down the desired gene. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Ionic Surfactant Vesicles for Drug Delivery)
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Pharmaceutics in 2018
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010046
Published: 21 January 2019
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Abstract
Rigorous peer-review is the corner-stone of high-quality academic publishing [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Human Olfactory Bulb Neural Stem Cells (Hu-OBNSCs) Can Be Loaded with Paclitaxel and Used to Inhibit Glioblastoma Cell Growth
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010045
Received: 7 December 2018 / Revised: 11 January 2019 / Accepted: 16 January 2019 / Published: 21 January 2019
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Abstract
Exploitation of the potential ability of human olfactory bulb (hOB) cells to carry, release, and deliver an effective, targeted anticancer therapy within the central nervous system (CNS) milieu remains elusive. Previous studies have demonstrated the marked ability of several types of stem cells [...] Read more.
Exploitation of the potential ability of human olfactory bulb (hOB) cells to carry, release, and deliver an effective, targeted anticancer therapy within the central nervous system (CNS) milieu remains elusive. Previous studies have demonstrated the marked ability of several types of stem cells (such as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to carry and release different anti-cancer agents such as paclitaxel (PTX). Herein we investigate the ability of human olfactory bulb neural stem cells (Hu-OBNSCs) to carry and release paclitaxel, producing effective cytotoxic effects against cancer cells. We isolated Hu-OBNSCs from the hOB, uploaded them with PTX, and studied their potential cytotoxic effects against cancer cells in vitro. Interestingly, the Hu-OBNSCs displayed a five-fold increase in their resistance to the cytotoxicity of PTX, and the PTX-uploaded Hu-OBNSCs were able to inhibit proliferation and invasion, and to trigger marked cytotoxic effects on glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) cancer cells, and Human Caucasian fetal pancreatic adenocarcinoma 1 (CFPAC-1) in vitro. Despite their ability to resist the cytotoxic activity of PTX, the mechanism by which Hu-OBNSCs acquire resistance to PTX is not yet explained. Collectively our data indicate the ability of the Hu-OBNSCs to resist PTX, and to trigger effective cytotoxic effects against GBM cancer cells and CFPAC-1. This indicates their potential to be used as a carrier/vehicle for targeted anti-cancer therapy within the CNS. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Behaviour of Tetrabenazine in Acid Medium: Reassessment and Impact on Formulation
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010044
Received: 14 December 2018 / Revised: 16 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 20 January 2019
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Abstract
Thorough studies of previous analytical stress data of tetrabenazine, a dopamine depleting agent, showed a potential susceptibility to acidic conditions. Hence, the behavior of tetrabenazine acidic solutions was studied by LC-MS and NMR spectroscopy. Reverse-phase LC-MS analysis of tetrabenazine acidic aqueous solutions consistently [...] Read more.
Thorough studies of previous analytical stress data of tetrabenazine, a dopamine depleting agent, showed a potential susceptibility to acidic conditions. Hence, the behavior of tetrabenazine acidic solutions was studied by LC-MS and NMR spectroscopy. Reverse-phase LC-MS analysis of tetrabenazine acidic aqueous solutions consistently showed a main lipophilic impurity in a proportion of 15 to 20%. NMR spectroscopy studies did not allow to completely ascertain its structure. However, we hypothesize an interconversion of trans-tetrabenazine with its unstable cis isomer via an open isoquinolinium intermediate. Evaluation of tetrabenazine integrity in orodispersible films was reassessed in light of these observations after formulation and during stability study. Even if interconversion of trans-tetrabenazine with its cis isomer was observed in orodispersible films containing tetrabenazine, this phenomenon seems not to have any consequences for the overall tetrabenazine bioavailability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Interactions of Self-Assembled Bletilla Striata Polysaccharide Nanoparticles with Bovine Serum Albumin and Biodistribution of Its Docetaxel-Loaded Nanoparticles
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010043
Received: 24 November 2018 / Revised: 12 January 2019 / Accepted: 15 January 2019 / Published: 19 January 2019
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Abstract
Amphiphilic copolymers of stearic acid (SA)-modified Bletilla striata polysaccharides (BSPs-SA) with three different degrees of substitution (DSs) were synthesized. The effects of DS values on the properties of BSPs-SA nanoparticles were evaluated. Drug state, cytotoxicity, and histological studies were carried out. The affinity [...] Read more.
Amphiphilic copolymers of stearic acid (SA)-modified Bletilla striata polysaccharides (BSPs-SA) with three different degrees of substitution (DSs) were synthesized. The effects of DS values on the properties of BSPs-SA nanoparticles were evaluated. Drug state, cytotoxicity, and histological studies were carried out. The affinity ability of bovine serum albumin (BSA) and the BSPs-SA nanoparticles was also characterized utilizing ultraviolet and fluorescence spectroscopy. Besides, the bioavailability and tissue distribution of docetaxel (DTX)-loaded BSPs-SA nanoparticles were also assessed. The results demonstrated that the DS increase of the hydrophobic stearic acid segment increased the negative charge, encapsulation efficiency, and drug-loading capacity while decreasing the critical aggregation concentration value as well as the release rate of docetaxel from the nanoparticles. Docetaxel was encapsulated in nanoparticles at the small molecules or had an amorphous status. The inhibitory capability of DTX-loaded BSPs-SA nanoparticles against 4T1 tumor cells was superior to that of Duopafei®. The ultraviolet and fluorescence results exhibited a strong binding affinity between BSPs-SA nanoparticles and bovine serum albumin, but the conformation of bovine serum albumin was not altered. Additionally, the area under the concentration–time curve (AUC0–∞) of DTX-loaded BSPs-SA nanoparticles was about 1.42-fold higher compared with Duopafei® in tumor-bearing mice. Docetaxel levels of DTX-loaded BSPs-SA nanoparticles in some organs changed, and more docetaxel accumulated in the liver, spleen, and the tumor compared with Duopafei®. The experimental results provided a theoretical guidance for further applications of BSPs-SA conjugates as nanocarriers for delivering anticancer drugs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Magnetic Mixed Micelles Composed of a Non-Ionic Surfactant and Nitroxide Radicals Containing a d-Glucosamine Unit: Preparation, Stability, and Biomedical Application
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010042
Received: 5 December 2018 / Revised: 5 January 2019 / Accepted: 9 January 2019 / Published: 19 January 2019
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Abstract
Metal-free magnetic mixed micelles (mean diameter: < 20 nm) were prepared by mixing the biocompatible non-ionic surfactant Tween 80 and the non-toxic, hydrophobic pyrrolidine-N-oxyl radicals bearing a d-glucosamine unit in pH 7.4 phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). The time-course stability and in [...] Read more.
Metal-free magnetic mixed micelles (mean diameter: < 20 nm) were prepared by mixing the biocompatible non-ionic surfactant Tween 80 and the non-toxic, hydrophobic pyrrolidine-N-oxyl radicals bearing a d-glucosamine unit in pH 7.4 phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). The time-course stability and in vitro magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast ability of the mixed micelles was found to depend on the length of the alkyl chain in the nitroxide radicals. It was also confirmed that the mixed micelles exhibited no toxicity in vivo and in vitro and high stability in the presence of a large excess of ascorbic acid. The in vivo MRI experiment revealed that one of these mixed micelles showed much higher contrast enhancement in the proton longitudinal relaxation time (T1) weighted images than other magnetic mixed micelles that we have reported previously. Thus, the magnetic mixed micelles presented here are expected to serve as a promising contrast agent for theranostic nanomedicines, such as MRI-visible targeted drug delivery carriers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotheranostics and Cancer: Where Are We Now?)
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Open AccessReview
Application of Permeation Enhancers in Oral Delivery of Macromolecules: An Update
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010041
Received: 21 December 2018 / Revised: 11 January 2019 / Accepted: 14 January 2019 / Published: 19 January 2019
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Abstract
The application of permeation enhancers (PEs) to improve transport of poorly absorbed active pharmaceutical ingredients across the intestinal epithelium is a widely tested approach. Several hundred compounds have been shown to alter the epithelial barrier, and although the research emphasis has broadened to [...] Read more.
The application of permeation enhancers (PEs) to improve transport of poorly absorbed active pharmaceutical ingredients across the intestinal epithelium is a widely tested approach. Several hundred compounds have been shown to alter the epithelial barrier, and although the research emphasis has broadened to encompass a role for nanoparticle approaches, PEs represent a key constituent of conventional oral formulations that have progressed to clinical testing. In this review, we highlight promising PEs in early development, summarize the current state of the art, and highlight challenges to the translation of PE-based delivery systems into safe and effective oral dosage forms for patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transmucosal Absorption Enhancers in the Drug Delivery Field)
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Open AccessArticle
Formulation and Characterization of Eplerenone Nanoemulsion Liquisolids, An Oral Delivery System with Higher Release Rate and Improved Bioavailability
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010040
Received: 3 December 2018 / Revised: 14 January 2019 / Accepted: 16 January 2019 / Published: 18 January 2019
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Abstract
Because Eplerenone (EPL) is a Biopharmaceutical Classification System (BCS) class-II drug and is prone to extensive liver degradation, it suffers from poor bioavailability after oral administration. This work aimed to prepare liquisolids loaded with EPL-nanoemulsions (EPL-NEs) that have a higher drug release rate [...] Read more.
Because Eplerenone (EPL) is a Biopharmaceutical Classification System (BCS) class-II drug and is prone to extensive liver degradation, it suffers from poor bioavailability after oral administration. This work aimed to prepare liquisolids loaded with EPL-nanoemulsions (EPL-NEs) that have a higher drug release rate and improved bioavailability by the oral route. Based on solubility studies, mixtures of Triacetin (oil) and Kolliphor EL/PEG 400 surfactant/co-surfactant (Smix) in different ratios were used to prepare EPL-NE systems, which were characterized and optimized for droplet size, zeta potential, polydispersity index (PDI), and drug content. Systems were then loaded onto liquisolid formulations and fully evaluated. A liquisolid formulation with better drug release and tableting properties was selected and compared to EPL-NEs and conventional EPL oral tablets in solid-state characterization studies and bioavailability studies in rabbits. Only five NEs prepared at 1:3, 1:2, and 3:1 Smix met the specified optimization criteria. The drug release rate from liquisolids was significantly increased (90% within 45 minutes). EPL-NE also showed significantly improved drug release but with a sustained pattern for four hours. Liquisolid bioavailability reached 2.1 and 1.2 relative to conventional tablets and EPL-NE. This suggests that the EPL-NE liquisolid is a promising oral delivery system with a higher drug release rate, enhanced absorption, decreased liver degradation, and improved bioavailability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparative Analysis of Protein Quantification Methods for the Rapid Determination of Protein Loading in Liposomal Formulations
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010039
Received: 23 November 2018 / Revised: 8 January 2019 / Accepted: 9 January 2019 / Published: 18 January 2019
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Abstract
Advances in manufacturing processes provide the ability for the high throughput production of liposomes containing a range of moieties, from small molecules to large biologicals (including proteins and nucleic acids for prophylactic and therapeutic applications). Whilst rapid quantification methods for small molecules are [...] Read more.
Advances in manufacturing processes provide the ability for the high throughput production of liposomes containing a range of moieties, from small molecules to large biologicals (including proteins and nucleic acids for prophylactic and therapeutic applications). Whilst rapid quantification methods for small molecules are generally well established, the ability to rapidly quantify liposomal entrapment of proteins is limited. Indeed, most standard protein quantification techniques (including the BCA assay and Reverse phase-high performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC)) measure protein encapsulation indirectly, by measuring the amount of non-incorporated drug, and subtracting from the initial amount of protein added. However, this can give inaccurate and misrepresentative results. To address this, we have developed a range of methods to directly quantify protein entrapment within liposomes. The encapsulation efficiency within neutral, anionic and cationic liposome formulations was determined by three techniques; BCA assay, RP-HPLC and HPLC coupled to an evaporative light scattering detector, (HPLC-ELSD). All three methods are reliable for the quantification of protein, with linear responses and correlation coefficients of 0.99, and LOQ for all three methods being less than 10 µg/mL. Here within, we provide three methods for the rapid and robust quantification of protein loading within liposomal (and other bilayer) vesicle systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for 10th Anniversary of Pharmaceutics)
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Open AccessArticle
Simultaneous Quantitation of a Novel α11-Blocker TJ0711 and Its Two Metabolites in Dog Plasma Using LC-MS/MS and Its Application to a Pharmacokinetic Study after Intravenous Infusion
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010038
Received: 26 December 2018 / Revised: 12 January 2019 / Accepted: 14 January 2019 / Published: 18 January 2019
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Abstract
TJ0711∙HCl, which is a novel α11 adrenoceptor blocking agent with a ratio of 1:1 for α11, is designed to treat and prevent perioperative hypertension. M1 and M3 were identified as important metabolites in vitro for either [...] Read more.
TJ0711∙HCl, which is a novel α11 adrenoceptor blocking agent with a ratio of 1:1 for α11, is designed to treat and prevent perioperative hypertension. M1 and M3 were identified as important metabolites in vitro for either antihypertension activity or the major metabolite production. In order to obtain a pharmacokinetic profile of both TJ0711 and its metabolites, a rapid, selective, and reliable LC-MS/MS method was developed and validated for simultaneous determination of TJ0711 and two metabolites in beagle dog plasma via efficiently separating two interferential metabolites M16 and M4 from M1 and M3, respectively. Chromatographic separation was achieved on a Waters CORTECS C18+ column (2.1 × 100 mm, 2.7 μm). The mass spectrometric detection was carried out in positive ion MRM mode with ESI+ source. Protein precipitation was used in sample preparation and provided good recovery without a matrix effect. Good linearity was observed at the ranges of 0.5–100 ng/mL for TJ0711 and M3, 0.1–20 ng/mL for M1. Additional validation results were within the acceptance limits followed U.S. FDA guidelines for bioanalytical method validation. This method was successfully applied to an intravenous infusion pharmacokinetic study of TJ0711 at dosing rates of 3, 6, and 12 µg/kg/min in anesthetized beagle dogs for the first time. TJ0711 and its two metabolites exhibited effective proportionality in the dosage of 3 to 12 µg/kg/min. Neither TJ0711 nor its metabolites showed significant differences in pharmacokinetic parameters such as t1/2, CL, and Vss among three dose groups. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Immediate-Release Nifedipine Binary Dry Powder Mixtures with Nanocellulose Featuring Enhanced Solubility and Dissolution Rate
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010037
Received: 19 November 2018 / Revised: 10 January 2019 / Accepted: 11 January 2019 / Published: 18 January 2019
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Abstract
Nifedipine (NIF) is a 1,4-dihydropyridine-based calcium channel blocker with poor solubility, whose bioavailability is highly dependent on the type of formulation. Dry powder mixtures of 20% w/w NIF with microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) and its high surface area nanocellulose analogue, which is [...] Read more.
Nifedipine (NIF) is a 1,4-dihydropyridine-based calcium channel blocker with poor solubility, whose bioavailability is highly dependent on the type of formulation. Dry powder mixtures of 20% w/w NIF with microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) and its high surface area nanocellulose analogue, which is namely Cladophora (CLAD) cellulose, were produced by heating at the melting temperature of the drug for 1 h. Non-heated samples were used as a reference. The solid-state properties of the mixtures were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry and X-ray diffraction. The drug release was studied in biorelevant media, including simulated gastric fluid (SGF), fasted-state simulated intestinal fluid (FaSIF) and fed-state simulated intestinal fluid (FeSIF). An enhanced apparent solubility and faster dissolution rate of NIF were observed in the heated mixture of NIF with CLAD-H in all tested biorelevant media (i.e., SGF, FaSIF and FeSIF), which was due to NIF amorphization in the high surface area nanocellulose powder. Ordinary MCC, which is essentially non-porous, did not produce an enhancement of a similar magnitude. The results of the study suggest that dry powder formulation using high surface area nanocellulose is a facile new strategy for formulating calcium channel blocker drugs, which could potentially be a viable alternative to currently used soft gel liquid capsules. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Intestinal Drug Absorption Enhancement by Aloe vera Gel and Whole Leaf Extract: In Vitro Investigations into the Mechanisms of Action
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010036
Received: 27 November 2018 / Revised: 12 December 2018 / Accepted: 13 December 2018 / Published: 18 January 2019
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Abstract
The co-administration of absorption enhancing agents with macromolecular drugs (e.g., protein and peptide drugs) has been identified as a means to improve the oral bioavailability of these drugs. Absorption-enhancing agents of natural origins have received a great deal of attention due to their [...] Read more.
The co-administration of absorption enhancing agents with macromolecular drugs (e.g., protein and peptide drugs) has been identified as a means to improve the oral bioavailability of these drugs. Absorption-enhancing agents of natural origins have received a great deal of attention due to their sustainable production, in support of green chemistry. In previous studies, certain parts of the Aloe vera leaf (e.g., gel and whole leaf extract) have shown a potential to enhance drug permeation across the intestinal epithelial barrier. The mechanism of the drug-absorption-enhancement action and the capacity for absorption-enhancement of the A. vera gel and whole leaf, were investigated in this study. A clear decrease in transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) of Caco-2 cell monolayers exposed to A. vera gel and wholeleaf extract, in various concentrations, indicated the opening of tight junctions between the epithelial cells. The transport of Fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-dextran, with a molecular weight of 4 kDa (FD-4), could be enhanced across the Caco-2 cell monolayers, by the A. vera gel and whole-leaf extract, but not the FITC-dextran with larger molecular weights (i.e., 10, 20, and 40 kDa), which indicated a limited drug absorption enhancement capacity, in terms of the molecular size. Accumulation of FD-4 between the Caco-2 cells (and not within the cells), after treatment with the A. vera gel and whole-leaf extract was shown with a confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) imaging, indicating that the paracellular transport of FD-4 occurred after the interaction of the A. vera gel and whole-leaf extract, with the epithelial cell monolayers. Furthermore, changes in the F-actin distribution in the cytoskeleton of the Caco-2 cell monolayers was observed by means of a fluorescence staining, which confirmed tight junction modulation as the mechanism of action for the absorption enhancement effect of the A. vera gel and whole-leaf extract. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transmucosal Absorption Enhancers in the Drug Delivery Field)
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Open AccessArticle
Enhanced In Situ Availability of Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae Constituents Entrapped in Buccal Films for the Treatment of Oxidative Stress-Related Oral Diseases: Biomechanical Characterization and In Vitro/Ex Vivo Evaluation
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010035
Received: 24 November 2018 / Revised: 8 January 2019 / Accepted: 14 January 2019 / Published: 17 January 2019
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Abstract
In recent years, the key role of oxidative stress in pathogenesis of oral diseases has been emphasized and the use of antioxidant agents has been encouraged. Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) is a unicellular blue-green alga with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The aim of this [...] Read more.
In recent years, the key role of oxidative stress in pathogenesis of oral diseases has been emphasized and the use of antioxidant agents has been encouraged. Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) is a unicellular blue-green alga with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The aim of this study was the formulation and characterization of mucoadhesive thin layer films loaded with AFA, finalized to the treatment of oxidative stress (OS)-related oral diseases. First, to enhance the bioavailability of AFA constituents, the raw food grade material was appropriately treated by a high frequency homogenization able to disrupt cell walls. Thus, Eudragit® E100-based buccal films were produced by the solvent casting method, containing 7% and 18% of AFA. The films, characterized by uniformity in thickness, weight, and drug content, showed low swelling degree, good muco-adhesiveness and controlled drug release. The mechanical tests showed elastic moduli of films of almost 5 MPa that is well-suitable for human buccal applications without discomfort, besides biaxial tests highlighted a marked material isotropy. Permeation studies through porcine mucosae demonstrated the ability of films to promote AFA penetration in the tissues, and when sublingually administered, they produced a drug flux up to six-fold higher than an AFA solution. The new formulations represent an interesting alternative for the development of cosmetics and nutraceuticals with a functional appeal containing plant extracts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buccal Drug Delivery)
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Open AccessArticle
Stable, Monodisperse, and Highly Cell-Permeating Nanocochleates from Natural Soy Lecithin Liposomes
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010034
Received: 13 November 2018 / Revised: 7 January 2019 / Accepted: 8 January 2019 / Published: 16 January 2019
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Abstract
(1) Background: Andrographolide (AN), the main diterpenoid constituent of Andrographis paniculata, has a wide spectrum of biological activities. The aim of this study was the development of nanocochleates (NCs) loaded with AN and based on phosphatidylserine (PS) or phosphatidylcholine (PC), cholesterol and [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Andrographolide (AN), the main diterpenoid constituent of Andrographis paniculata, has a wide spectrum of biological activities. The aim of this study was the development of nanocochleates (NCs) loaded with AN and based on phosphatidylserine (PS) or phosphatidylcholine (PC), cholesterol and calcium ions in order to overcome AN low water solubility, its instability under alkaline conditions and its rapid metabolism in the intestine. (2) Methods: The AN-loaded NCs (AN–NCs) were physically and chemically characterised. The in vitro gastrointestinal stability and biocompatibility of AN–NCs in J77A.1 macrophage and 3T3 fibroblasts cell lines were also investigated. Finally, the uptake of nanocarriers in macrophage cells was studied. (3) Results: AN–NCs obtained from PC nanoliposomes were suitable nanocarriers in terms of size and homogeneity. They had an extraordinary stability after lyophilisation without the use of lyoprotectants and after storage at room temperature. The encapsulation efficiency was 71%, while approximately 95% of AN was released in PBS after 24 h, with kinetics according to the Hixson–Crowell model. The in vitro gastrointestinal stability and safety of NCs, both in macrophages and 3T3 fibroblasts, were also assessed. Additionally, NCs had extraordinary uptake properties in macrophages. (4) Conclusions: NCs developed in this study could be suitable for both AN oral and parental administration, amplifying its therapeutic value. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Drug Bioavailability Enhancing Agents of Natural Origin (Bioenhancers) that Modulate Drug Membrane Permeation and Pre-Systemic Metabolism
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010033
Received: 11 December 2018 / Revised: 23 December 2018 / Accepted: 24 December 2018 / Published: 16 January 2019
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Abstract
Many new chemical entities are discovered with high therapeutic potential, however, many of these compounds exhibit unfavorable pharmacokinetic properties due to poor solubility and/or poor membrane permeation characteristics. The latter is mainly due to the lipid-like barrier imposed by epithelial mucosal layers, which [...] Read more.
Many new chemical entities are discovered with high therapeutic potential, however, many of these compounds exhibit unfavorable pharmacokinetic properties due to poor solubility and/or poor membrane permeation characteristics. The latter is mainly due to the lipid-like barrier imposed by epithelial mucosal layers, which have to be crossed by drug molecules in order to exert a therapeutic effect. Another barrier is the pre-systemic metabolic degradation of drug molecules, mainly by cytochrome P450 enzymes located in the intestinal enterocytes and liver hepatocytes. Although the nasal, buccal and pulmonary routes of administration avoid the first-pass effect, they are still dependent on absorption of drug molecules across the mucosal surfaces to achieve systemic drug delivery. Bioenhancers (drug absorption enhancers of natural origin) have been identified that can increase the quantity of unchanged drug that appears in the systemic blood circulation by means of modulating membrane permeation and/or pre-systemic metabolism. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of natural bioenhancers and their main mechanisms of action for the nasal, buccal, pulmonary and oral routes of drug administration. Poorly bioavailable drugs such as large, hydrophilic therapeutics are often administered by injections. Bioenhancers may potentially be used to benefit patients by making systemic delivery of these poorly bioavailable drugs possible via alternative routes of administration (i.e., oral, nasal, buccal or pulmonary routes of administration) and may also reduce dosages of small molecular drugs and thereby reduce treatment costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transmucosal Absorption Enhancers in the Drug Delivery Field)
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Open AccessArticle
Loading of Porous Functionalized Calcium Carbonate Microparticles: Distribution Analysis with Focused Ion Beam Electron Microscopy and Mercury Porosimetry
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010032
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 9 January 2019 / Accepted: 10 January 2019 / Published: 15 January 2019
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Abstract
Accurate analysis of intraparticle distribution of substances within porous drug carriers is important to optimize loading and subsequent processing. Mercury intrusion porosimetry, a common technique used for characterization of porous materials, assumes cylindrical pore geometry, which may lead to misinterpretation. Therefore, imaging techniques [...] Read more.
Accurate analysis of intraparticle distribution of substances within porous drug carriers is important to optimize loading and subsequent processing. Mercury intrusion porosimetry, a common technique used for characterization of porous materials, assumes cylindrical pore geometry, which may lead to misinterpretation. Therefore, imaging techniques such as focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) help to better interpret these results. The purpose of this study was to investigate the differences between mercury intrusion and scanning electron microscopy and to identify the limitations of each method. Porous microparticles, functionalized calcium carbonate, were loaded with bovine serum albumin and dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) by solvent evaporation and results of the pore size distribution obtained by both methods were compared. The internal structure of the novel pharmaceutical excipient, functionalized calcium carbonate, was revealed for the first time. Our results demonstrated that image analysis provides a closer representation of the material distribution since it was possible to discriminate between blocked and filled pores. The physical nature of the loaded substances is critical for the deposition within the pores of functionalized calcium carbonate. We conclude, that a combination of mercury intrusion porosimetry and focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy allows for a reliable analysis of sub-micron porous structures of particulate drug carriers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Porous Inorganic Drug Delivery Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Protein Corona Fingerprints of Liposomes: New Opportunities for Targeted Drug Delivery and Early Detection in Pancreatic Cancer
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010031
Received: 22 November 2018 / Revised: 8 January 2019 / Accepted: 8 January 2019 / Published: 15 January 2019
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Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth cause of cancer-related mortality in the Western world and is envisaged to become the second cause by 2030. Although our knowledge about the molecular biology of PDAC is continuously increasing, this progress has not been translated [...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth cause of cancer-related mortality in the Western world and is envisaged to become the second cause by 2030. Although our knowledge about the molecular biology of PDAC is continuously increasing, this progress has not been translated into better patients’ outcome. Liposomes have been used to circumvent concerns associated with the low efficiency of anticancer drugs such as severe side effects and damage of healthy tissues, but they have not resulted in improved efficacy as yet. Recently, the concept is emerging that the limited success of liposomal drugs in clinical practice is due to our poor knowledge of the nano–bio interactions experienced by liposomes in vivo. After systemic administration, lipid vesicles are covered by plasma proteins forming a biomolecular coating, referred to as the protein corona (PC). Recent studies have clarified that just a minor fraction of the hundreds of bound plasma proteins, referred to as “PC fingerprints” (PCFs), enhance liposome association with cancer cells, triggering efficient particle internalization. In this study, we synthesized a library of 10 liposomal formulations with systematic changes in lipid composition and exposed them to human plasma (HP). Size, zeta-potential, and corona composition of the resulting liposome–protein complexes were thoroughly characterized by dynamic light scattering (DLS), micro-electrophoresis, and nano-liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (nano-LC MS/MS). According to the recent literature, enrichment in PCFs was used to predict the targeting ability of synthesized liposomal formulations. Here we show that the predicted targeting capability of liposome–protein complexes clearly correlate with cellular uptake in pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PANC-1) and insulinoma (INS-1) cells as quantified by flow-assisted cell sorting (FACS). Of note, cellular uptake of the liposomal formulation with the highest abundance of PCFs was much larger than that of Onivyde®, an Irinotecan liposomal drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2015 for the treatment of metastatic PDAC. Given the urgent need of efficient nanocarriers for the treatment of PDAC, we envision that our results will pave the way for the development of more efficient PC-based targeted nanomaterials. Here we also show that some BCs are enriched with plasma proteins that are associated with the onset and progression of PDAC (e.g., sex hormone-binding globulin, Ficolin-3, plasma protease C1 inhibitor, etc.). This could open the intriguing possibility to identify novel biomarkers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Preparation and Study of the Antibacterial Applications and Oxidative Stress Induction of Copper Maleamate-Functionalized Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010030
Received: 9 November 2018 / Revised: 9 January 2019 / Accepted: 10 January 2019 / Published: 14 January 2019
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Abstract
Mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) are an interesting class of nanomaterials with potential applications in different therapeutic areas and that have been extensively used as drug carriers in different fields of medicine. The present work is focused on the synthesis of MSNs containing a [...] Read more.
Mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) are an interesting class of nanomaterials with potential applications in different therapeutic areas and that have been extensively used as drug carriers in different fields of medicine. The present work is focused on the synthesis of MSNs containing a maleamato ligand (MSN-maleamic) and the subsequent coordination of copper(II) ions (MSN-maleamic-Cu) for the exploration of their potential application as antibacterial agents. The Cu-containing nanomaterials have been characterized by different techniques and the preliminary antibacterial effect of the supported maleamato-copper(II) complexes has been tested against two types of bacteria (Gram positive and Gram negative) in different assays to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC). The biological results showed a moderate antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli which motivated a more detailed study of the antibacterial mechanism of action of the synthesized maleamate-containing nanosystems and whose findings showed oxidative stress generation in bacterial cells. All the prepared nanomaterials were also tested as catalysts in the “solvent free” selective oxidation of benzyl alcohol, to observe if there is a potential correlation between the catalytic oxidation capacity of the materials and the observed oxidative stress in bacteria. This may help in the future, for a more accurate rational design of antibacterial nanosystems, based on their observed catalytic oxidation activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Porous Inorganic Drug Delivery Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Transungual Delivery of Ciclopirox Is Increased 3–4-Fold by Mechanical Fenestration of Human Nail Plate in an In Vitro Model
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010029
Received: 20 December 2018 / Revised: 6 January 2019 / Accepted: 8 January 2019 / Published: 14 January 2019
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Abstract
Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of nails that is widespread and difficult to treat because of the impermeable nature of human nails. Topically applied anti-fungal agents cannot penetrate this structure, and treatment regimens often resort to systemic antifungals with concomitant side effects. One [...] Read more.
Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of nails that is widespread and difficult to treat because of the impermeable nature of human nails. Topically applied anti-fungal agents cannot penetrate this structure, and treatment regimens often resort to systemic antifungals with concomitant side effects. One recent clinical study suggested that mechanical fenestration of the nail using an intelligent nail drill might be a possible solution to this problem. In this work, an in vitro model of the transungual delivery of antifungal agents is presented, which utilizes real nail tissue and an inline flow system. This system was deployed to measure transungual delivery of ciclopirox and determined that nail fenestration improved drug delivery by 3–4-fold after 42 days. This study bolsters the argument that nail fenestration should be accepted as a pretreatment for onychomycosis and offers a way of evaluating new drugs or formulations designed to combat this condition. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A New Generation of Dihydropyridine Calcium Channel Blockers: Photostabilization of Liquid Formulations Using Nonionic Surfactants
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010028
Received: 13 December 2018 / Revised: 3 January 2019 / Accepted: 8 January 2019 / Published: 11 January 2019
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Abstract
The stability profile of a new 1,4-dihydropyridine derivative (DHP), representative of a series with a hexahydroquinoline ring, was studied to design light-stable liquid formulations. This molecule, named M3, has been shown among the analogs to have a high capacity to block both L- [...] Read more.
The stability profile of a new 1,4-dihydropyridine derivative (DHP), representative of a series with a hexahydroquinoline ring, was studied to design light-stable liquid formulations. This molecule, named M3, has been shown among the analogs to have a high capacity to block both L- and T-type calcium channels. The ethanol solution of the drug was subjected to a photodegradation test, in accordance with standard rules. The concentrations of the drug and its byproducts were estimated using multivariate curve resolution, applied to the spectral data collected during the test. The improvement of both the photostability and water solubility of M3 was investigated by adding the surfactant polysorbate 20 in a 1:5 ratio to aqueous solutions of the drug. These formulations were exposed to stressing light in containers of bleu polyethylene terephthalate (PET), amber PET, and covered amber PET. The best results were obtained when using the covered amber PET container, reaching a degradation percentage of the drug less than 5% after 12 h under an irradiance power of 450 W/m2. The stability of the compound was compared to that of nimodipine (NIM) under the same conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Ionic Surfactant Vesicles for Drug Delivery)
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Formulations of C-Peptide with Long-Acting Therapeutic Potential for Treatment of Diabetic Complications
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010027
Received: 13 November 2018 / Revised: 5 January 2019 / Accepted: 7 January 2019 / Published: 11 January 2019
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Abstract
The development and application of novel nanospheres based on cationic and anionic random amphiphilic polypeptides with prolonged stability were proposed. The random copolymers, e.g., poly(l-lysine-co-d-phenylalanine) (P(Lys-co-dPhe)) and poly(l-glutamic acid-co- [...] Read more.
The development and application of novel nanospheres based on cationic and anionic random amphiphilic polypeptides with prolonged stability were proposed. The random copolymers, e.g., poly(l-lysine-co-d-phenylalanine) (P(Lys-co-dPhe)) and poly(l-glutamic acid-co-d-phenylalanine) (P(Glu-co-dPhe)), with different amount of hydrophilic and hydrophobic monomers were synthesized. The polypeptides obtained were able to self-assemble into nanospheres. Such characteristics as size, PDI and ζ-potential of the nanospheres were determined, as well as their dependence on pH was also studied. Additionally, the investigation of their biodegradability and cytotoxicity was performed. The prolonged stability of nanospheres was achieved via introduction of d-amino acids into the polypeptide structure. The cytotoxicity of nanospheres obtained was tested using HEK-293 cells. It was proved that no cytotoxicity up to the concentration of 500 µg/mL was observed. C-peptide delivery systems were realized in two ways: (1) peptide immobilization on the surface of P(Glu-co-dPhe) nanospheres; and (2) peptide encapsulation into P(Lys-co-dPhe) systems. The immobilization capacity and the dependence of C-peptide encapsulation efficiency, as well as maximal loading capacity, on initial drug concentration was studied. The kinetic of drug release was studied at model physiological conditions. Novel formulations of a long-acting C-peptide exhibited their effect ex vivo by increasing activity of erythrocyte Na+/K+-adenosine triphosphatase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Self-Organizing Nanovectors for Drug Delivery)
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Open AccessArticle
Fabrication, Optimization, and Evaluation of Rotigotine-Loaded Chitosan Nanoparticles for Nose-To-Brain Delivery
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010026
Received: 13 December 2018 / Revised: 3 January 2019 / Accepted: 7 January 2019 / Published: 10 January 2019
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Abstract
The objective of the present study was to develop, optimize, and evaluate rotigotine-loaded chitosan nanoparticles (RNPs) for nose-to-brain delivery. Rotigotine-loaded chitosan nanoparticles were prepared by the ionic gelation method and optimized for various parameters such as the effect of chitosan, sodium tripolyphosphate, rotigotine [...] Read more.
The objective of the present study was to develop, optimize, and evaluate rotigotine-loaded chitosan nanoparticles (RNPs) for nose-to-brain delivery. Rotigotine-loaded chitosan nanoparticles were prepared by the ionic gelation method and optimized for various parameters such as the effect of chitosan, sodium tripolyphosphate, rotigotine concentration on particle size, polydispersity index (PDI), zeta potential, and entrapment efficiency. The prepared nanoparticles were characterized using photon correlation spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction. The developed RNPs showed a small hydrodynamic particle size (75.37 ± 3.37 nm), small PDI (0.368 ± 0.02), satisfactory zeta potential (25.53 ± 0.45 mV), and very high entrapment efficiency (96.08 ± 0.01). The 24-h in vitro release and ex vivo nasal permeation of rotigotine from the nanoparticles were 49.45 ± 2.09% and 92.15 ± 4.74% while rotigotine solution showed corresponding values of 95.96 ± 1.79%and 58.22 ± 1.75%, respectively. The overall improvement ratio for flux and permeability coefficient were found to be 4.88 and 2.67 when compared with rotigotine solution. A histopathological study showed that the nanoparticulate formulation produced no toxicity or structural damage to nasal mucosa. Our results indicated that rotigotine-loaded chitosan nanoparticles provide an efficient carrier for nose-to-brain delivery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nose to Brain Delivery)
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Open AccessArticle
Complexes of Pro-Apoptotic siRNAs and Carbosilane Dendrimers: Formation and Effect on Cancer Cells
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010025
Received: 17 December 2018 / Revised: 30 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 January 2019 / Published: 10 January 2019
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Abstract
This paper examines the complexation of anti-cancer small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) by cationic carbosilane dendrimers, and the interaction of the formed complexes with HeLa and HL-60 cancer cells. Stepwise formation of the complexes accompanied by the evolution of their properties has been observed [...] Read more.
This paper examines the complexation of anti-cancer small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) by cationic carbosilane dendrimers, and the interaction of the formed complexes with HeLa and HL-60 cancer cells. Stepwise formation of the complexes accompanied by the evolution of their properties has been observed through the increase of the charge ratio (dendrimer/siRNA). The complexes decrease the viability of both “easy-to-transfect” cells (HeLa) and “hard-to transfect” ones (HL-60), indicating a high potential of the cationic carbosilane dendrimers for siRNA delivery into tumor cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dendrimers in Nanomedical Applications: Update and Future Directions)
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Open AccessArticle
Process Optimization and Upscaling of Spray-Dried Drug-Amino acid Co-Amorphous Formulations
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010024
Received: 14 December 2018 / Revised: 2 January 2019 / Accepted: 3 January 2019 / Published: 9 January 2019
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Abstract
The feasibility of upscaling the formulation of co-amorphous indomethacin-lysine from lab-scale to pilot-scale spray drying was investigated. A 22 full factorial design of experiments (DoE) was employed at lab scale. The atomization gas flow rate (Fatom, from 0.5 to 1.4 [...] Read more.
The feasibility of upscaling the formulation of co-amorphous indomethacin-lysine from lab-scale to pilot-scale spray drying was investigated. A 22 full factorial design of experiments (DoE) was employed at lab scale. The atomization gas flow rate (Fatom, from 0.5 to 1.4 kg/h) and outlet temperature (Tout, from 55 to 75 °C) were chosen as the critical process parameters. The obtained amorphization, glass transition temperature, bulk density, yield, and particle size distribution were chosen as the critical quality attributes. In general, the model showed low Fatom and high Tout to be beneficial for the desired product characteristics (a co-amorphous formulation with a low bulk density, high yield, and small particle size). In addition, only a low Fatom and high Tout led to the desired complete co-amorphization, while a minor residual crystallinity was observed with the other combinations of Fatom and Tout. Finally, upscaling to a pilot scale spray dryer was carried out based on the DoE results; however, the drying gas flow rate and the feed flow rate were adjusted to account for the different drying chamber geometries. An increased likelihood to achieve complete amorphization, because of the extended drying chamber, and hence an increased residence time of the droplets in the drying gas, was found in the pilot scale, confirming the feasibility of upscaling spray drying as a production technique for co-amorphous systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for 10th Anniversary of Pharmaceutics)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Piperazine Derivative on Paclitaxel Pharmacokinetics
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010023
Received: 16 November 2018 / Revised: 12 December 2018 / Accepted: 2 January 2019 / Published: 8 January 2019
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Abstract
Paclitaxel (PTX) is an anticancer agent that is used to treat many cancers but it has a very low oral bioavailability due, at least in part, to the drug efflux transporter, P-glycoprotein (P-gp). Therefore, this study was performed to enhance oral bioavailability of [...] Read more.
Paclitaxel (PTX) is an anticancer agent that is used to treat many cancers but it has a very low oral bioavailability due, at least in part, to the drug efflux transporter, P-glycoprotein (P-gp). Therefore, this study was performed to enhance oral bioavailability of PTX. In this study, we investigated the effects of several piperazine derivatives on P-gp function in vitro. Compound 4 was selected as the most potent P-gp inhibitor from the in vitro results for examining the pharmacokinetic (PK) changes of PTX in rats. Compound 4 increased the AUCinf of PTX without alterations in the Cmax value. The elimination half-life was extended and the oral clearance decreased. Additionally, the Tmax was delayed or widened in the treatment groups. Therefore, the bioavailability (BA) of PTX was improved 2.1-fold following the co-administration of 5 mg/kg of the derivative. A piperazine derivative, compound 4, which was confirmed as a substantial P-gp inhibitor in vitro increased the BA of PTX up to 2-fold by a lingering absorption, in part due to inhibition of intestinal P-gp and a low oral clearance of PTX. These results suggest that co-administering compound 4 may change the PK profile of PTX by inhibiting P-gp activity in the body. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Current Trends in Cancer Nanotheranostics: Metallic, Polymeric, and Lipid-Based Systems
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010022
Received: 2 December 2018 / Revised: 28 December 2018 / Accepted: 1 January 2019 / Published: 8 January 2019
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Abstract
Theranostics has emerged in recent years to provide an efficient and safer alternative in cancer management. This review presents an updated description of nanotheranostic formulations under development for skin cancer (including melanoma), head and neck, thyroid, breast, gynecologic, prostate, and colon cancers, brain-related [...] Read more.
Theranostics has emerged in recent years to provide an efficient and safer alternative in cancer management. This review presents an updated description of nanotheranostic formulations under development for skin cancer (including melanoma), head and neck, thyroid, breast, gynecologic, prostate, and colon cancers, brain-related cancer, and hepatocellular carcinoma. With this focus, we appraised the clinical advantages and drawbacks of metallic, polymeric, and lipid-based nanosystems, such as low invasiveness, low toxicity to the surrounding healthy tissues, high precision, deeper tissue penetration, and dosage adjustment in a real-time setting. Particularly recognizing the increased complexity and multimodality in this area, multifunctional hybrid nanoparticles, comprising different nanomaterials and functionalized with targeting moieties and/or anticancer drugs, present the best characteristics for theranostics. Several examples, focusing on their design, composition, imaging and treatment modalities, and in vitro and in vivo characterization, are detailed herein. Briefly, all studies followed a common trend in the design of these theranostics modalities, such as the use of materials and/or drugs that share both inherent imaging (e.g., contrast agents) and therapeutic properties (e.g., heating or production reactive oxygen species). This rationale allows one to apparently overcome the heterogeneity, complexity, and harsh conditions of tumor microenvironments, leading to the development of successful targeted therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotheranostics and Cancer: Where Are We Now?)
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Open AccessReview
Microencapsulation and Nanoencapsulation Using Supercritical Fluid (SCF) Techniques
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010021
Received: 8 December 2018 / Revised: 25 December 2018 / Accepted: 27 December 2018 / Published: 5 January 2019
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Abstract
The unique properties of supercritical fluids, in particular supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2), provide numerous opportunities for the development of processes for pharmaceutical applications. One of the potential applications for pharmaceuticals includes microencapsulation and nanoencapsulation for drug delivery purposes. Supercritical CO2 [...] Read more.
The unique properties of supercritical fluids, in particular supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2), provide numerous opportunities for the development of processes for pharmaceutical applications. One of the potential applications for pharmaceuticals includes microencapsulation and nanoencapsulation for drug delivery purposes. Supercritical CO2 processes allow the design and control of particle size, as well as drug loading by utilizing the tunable properties of supercritical CO2 at different operating conditions (flow ratio, temperature, pressures, etc.). This review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the processes and techniques using supercritical fluid processing based on the supercritical properties, the role of supercritical carbon dioxide during the process, and the mechanism of formulation production for each process discussed. The considerations for equipment configurations to achieve the various processes described and the mechanisms behind the representative processes such as RESS (rapid expansion of supercritical solutions), SAS (supercritical antisolvent), SFEE (supercritical fluid extraction of emulsions), PGSS (particles from gas-saturated solutions), drying, and polymer foaming will be explained via schematic representation. More recent developments such as fluidized bed coating using supercritical CO2 as the fluidizing and drying medium, the supercritical CO2 spray drying of aqueous solutions, as well as the production of microporous drug releasing devices via foaming, will be highlighted in this review. Development and strategies to control and optimize the particle morphology, drug loading, and yield from the major processes will also be discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro and Nano Encapsulation Techniques)
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Open AccessArticle
Chitosan-Based Mucoadhesive Vaginal Tablets for Controlled Release of the Anti-HIV Drug Tenofovir
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010020
Received: 22 November 2018 / Revised: 20 December 2018 / Accepted: 28 December 2018 / Published: 5 January 2019
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Abstract
Vaginal microbicides have the potential to give women at high risk of contracting HIV the option of self-protection by preventing the sexual transmission of the virus. In this paper, mucoadhesive vaginal tablets based on chitosan, alone and in combination with pectin and locust [...] Read more.
Vaginal microbicides have the potential to give women at high risk of contracting HIV the option of self-protection by preventing the sexual transmission of the virus. In this paper, mucoadhesive vaginal tablets based on chitosan, alone and in combination with pectin and locust bean gum, were developed for the sustained release of tenofovir (an antiretroviral drug). The formulations were placed in simulant vaginal fluid (SVF) to swell, and Hg porosity and SEM microscopy were used for the microstructural characterization of the swelling witnesses. The results show that the association of pectin and chitosan generated polyelectrolyte complexes and produced a robust system able to maintain its structure during the swelling process, when small pores are formed. Drug release and bovine vaginal mucoadhesion studies were performed in SVF showing that tenofovir-controlled dissolution profiles and adhesion to the mucosa were conditioned by the swelling processes of the polymer/s in each formulation. Tablets based on chitosan/pectin have the most homogeneous tenofovir dissolution profiles and last up to 96 h, remaining attached to the vaginal mucosa for the same period. These formulations can therefore be considered a good option for the self-protection of women from the sexual transmission of HIV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chitosan Biomedical Applications: Opportunities and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Evaluation of Perfluorocarbon Aerosol Generation with Two Novel Nebulizer Prototypes
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010019
Received: 19 November 2018 / Revised: 22 December 2018 / Accepted: 30 December 2018 / Published: 5 January 2019
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Abstract
The potential of non-invasive ventilation procedures and new minimally invasive techniques has resulted in the research of alternative approaches as the aerosolization for the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). The aim of this work was to design two nebulizer prototypes and to [...] Read more.
The potential of non-invasive ventilation procedures and new minimally invasive techniques has resulted in the research of alternative approaches as the aerosolization for the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). The aim of this work was to design two nebulizer prototypes and to evaluate them studying the particle size distribution of the inhaled droplets generated with distilled water and two perfluorocarbons (PFCs). Different experiments were performed with driving pressures of 1–3 bar for each compound. An Aerodynamic Particle Sizer was used to measure the aerodynamic diameter (Da), the mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD) and the geometric standard deviation (GSD). The results showed that both prototypes produced heterodisperse aerosols with Da mean values in all cases below 5 µm. The initial experiments with distilled water showed MMAD values lower than 9 µm and up to 15 µm with prototype 1 and prototype 2, respectively. Regarding the PFCs, relatively uniform MMAD values close to 12 µm were achieved. The air delivery with outer lumens of prototype 1 presented more suitable mass distribution for the generation and delivery of a uniform aerosol than the two half-circular ring geometry proposed in the prototype 2. Full article
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