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Drug Des Devel Ther. 2016 Mar 1;10:911-25. doi: 10.2147/DDDT.S97738. eCollection 2016.

Naringenin-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles: preparation, controlled delivery, cellular uptake, and pulmonary pharmacokinetics.

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College of Pharmacy, Liaoning Medical University, Jinzhou, Liaoning Province, People's Republic of China.


Naringenin (NRG), a flavonoid compound, had been reported to exhibit extensive pharmacological effects, but its water solubility and oral bioavailability are only~46±6 µg/mL and 5.8%, respectively. The purpose of this study is to design and develop NRG-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles (NRG-SLNs) to provide prolonged and sustained drug release, with improved stability, involving nontoxic nanocarriers, and increase the bioavailability by means of pulmonary administration. Initially, a group contribution method was used to screen the best solid lipid matrix for the preparation of SLNs. NRG-SLNs were prepared by an emulsification and low-temperature solidification method and optimized using an orthogonal experiment approach. The morphology was examined by transmission electron microscopy, and the particle size and zeta potential were determined by photon correlation spectroscopy. The total drug content of NRG-SLNs was measured by high-performance liquid chromatography, and the encapsulation efficiency (EE) was determined by Sephadex gel-50 chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography. The in vitro NRG release studies were carried out using a dialysis bag. The best cryoprotectant to prepare NRG-SLN lyophilized powder for future structural characterization was selected using differential scanning calorimetry, powder X-ray diffraction, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The short-term stability, 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay, cellular uptake, and pharmacokinetics in rats were studied after pulmonary administration of NRG-SLN lyophilized powder. Glycerol monostearate was selected to prepare SLNs, and the optimal formulation of NRG-SLNs was spherical in shape, with a particle size of 98 nm, a polydispersity index of 0.258, a zeta potential of -31.4 mV, a total drug content of 9.76 mg, an EE of 79.11%, and a cumulative drug release of 80% in 48 hours with a sustained profile. In addition, 5% mannitol (w/v) was screened as a cryoprotectant. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, and powder X-ray diffraction studies confirmed that the drug was encapsulated into SLNs in an amorphous form. The lyophilized powder was stable at both refrigeration (4°C) and ambient temperature (25°C) for 3 months, and the MTT assay demonstrated that the SLNs were nontoxic. The cellular uptake of fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled SLNs in A549 cells was highly time dependent over a period of 3 hours, while the pharmacokinetic study in Sprague Dawley rats showed that the relative bioavailability of NRG-SLNs was 2.53-fold greater than that of NRG suspension after pulmonary administration. This study shows that SLNs offer a promising pulmonary delivery system to increase the bioavailability of the poorly water-soluble drug NRG.


MTT; cellular uptake; group contribution method; instillation technology; naringenin; pulmonary pharmacokinetics; solid lipid nanoparticles; sustained profile

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