Periodontitis treatment is usually focused on the reduction or eradication of periodontal pathogens using antibiotics against anaerobic bacteria, such as metronidazole (MTR). Moreover, recently the correlation between periodontal diseases and overexpression of reactive oxygen species (ROS) led to the introduction of antioxidant biomolecules in therapy. In this work, bioadhesive buccal tablets, consisting of a hydrophilic matrix loaded with metronidazole and lipophilic nanoparticles as a vehicle of curcumin, were developed. Curcumin (CUR)-loaded nanostructured lipid carriers (NLC) were prepared using glycyrrhetic acid, hexadecanol, isopropyl palmitate and Tween®
80 as a surfactant. As method, homogenization followed by high-frequency sonication was used. After dialysis, CUR-NLC dispersion was evaluated in terms of drug loading (DL, 2.2% w/w) and drug recovery (DR, 88% w/w). NLC, characterized by dynamic light scattering and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), exhibited a spherical shape, an average particle size of 121.6 nm and PDI and PZ values considered optimal for a colloidal nanoparticle dispersion indicating good stability of the system. Subsequently, a hydrophilic sponge was obtained by lyophilization of a gel based on trehalose, Natrosol and PVP-K90, loaded with CUR-NLC and MTR. By compression of the sponge, matrix tablets were obtained and characterized in term of porosity, swelling index, mucoadhesion and drugs release. The ability of the matrix tablets to release CUR and MTR when applied on buccal mucosa and the aptitude of actives to penetrate and/or permeate the tissue were evaluated. The data demonstrate the ability of NLC to promote the penetration of CUR into the lipophilic domains of the mucosal membrane, while MTR can penetrate and permeate the mucosal tissue, where it can perform a loco-regional antibacterial activity. These results strongly support the possibility of using this novel matrix tablet for delivering MTR together with CUR for topical treatment of periodontal diseases.
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