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J Pharm Sci. 2011 Jul;100(7):2599-609. doi: 10.1002/jps.22475. Epub 2011 Jan 14.

Highly loaded, sustained-release microparticles of curcumin for chemoprevention.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.


Curcumin, a dietary polyphenol, has preventive and therapeutic potential against several diseases. Because of the chronic nature of many of these diseases, sustained-release dosage forms of curcumin could be of significant clinical value. However, extreme lipophilicity and instability of curcumin are significant challenges in its formulation development. The objectives of this study were to fabricate an injectable microparticle formulation that can sustain curcumin release over a 1-month period and to determine its chemopreventive activity in a mouse model. Microparticles were fabricated using poly(D, L-lactide-co-glycolide) polymer. Conventional emulsion solvent evaporation method of preparing microparticles resulted in crystallization of curcumin outside of microparticles and poor entrapment (∼1%, w/w loading). Rapid solvent removal using vacuum dramatically increased drug entrapment (∼38%, w/w loading; 76% encapsulation efficiency). Microparticles sustained curcumin release over 4 weeks in vitro, and drug release rate could be modulated by varying the polymer molecular weight and/or composition. A single subcutaneous dose of microparticles sustained curcumin liver concentration for nearly a month in mice. Hepatic glutathione-s-transferase and cyclooxygenase-2 activities, biomarkers for chemoprevention, were altered following treatment with curcumin microparticles. The results of these studies suggest that sustained-release microparticles of curcumin could be a novel and effective approach for cancer chemoprevention.

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