Amongst various drug administration methods, ophthalmic drug delivery has been a useful way for the treatment of eye-related diseases. However, therapeutic efficacy of ocular therapy for anterior or posterior eye segments through topical administration is considerably challenged by the number of anatomical and physiological barriers in the eyes affecting ocular bioavailability. In this respect, advanced biocompatible nanoformulations make it possible to improve drug delivery to the target sites and enhance ocular bioavailability of ophthalmic medicines. Various ocular diseases have been reported to be related to oxidative stresses in tissues, and polyphenolic compounds have been known for their antioxidant activities in various tissues, including the eyes. Despite drug efficacy, poor water solubility and intrinsic color of the compounds limit the drug’s inclusion into the development of ocular medicine. In the present study, we investigated the antioxidant protectant efficacy of rosmarinic or ursolic acid in the retinal epithelial cells, as compared to those of curcumin, by forming nanospheres with bovine serum albumin. Our results demonstrate that antioxidant-containing nanoformulations provide a significantly higher drug solubility and decreased ROS (reactive oxygen species) production in the retinal epithelial cells. Finally, we also found that albumin-based nanoformulations could improve bioavailability and increase antioxidant activity of rosmarinic or ursolic acid in the retina to be applied as efficient ocular protectant.
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