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Drug Dev Ind Pharm. 2018 Oct;44(10):1701-1712. doi: 10.1080/03639045.2018.1492607. Epub 2018 Jul 25.

Topical delivery of tetrahydrocurcumin lipid nanoparticles effectively inhibits skin inflammation: in vitro and in vivo study.

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a Department of Pharmaceutics , University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Panjab University , Chandigarh , India.
b School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences , University of Central Lancashire , Preston , UK.


Tetrahydrocurcumin (THC) also referred to as 'white curcumin', is a stable colorless hydrogenated product of curcumin with superior antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The present study is an attempt to elevate the topical bioavailability of THC, post-incorporation into a nano-carrier system with its final dosage as a hydrogel. Lipid nanoparticles of THC (THC-SLNs) prepared by microemulsification technique were ellipsoidal in shape (revealed in transmission electron microscopy) with a mean particle size of 96.6 nm and zeta potential of -22 mV. Total drug content and entrapment efficiency of THC-SLNs was 94.51% ± 2.15% and 69.56% ± 1.35%, respectively. Differential scanning calorimetry and X-ray diffraction studies confirmed the formation of THC-SLNs. In vitro drug release studies showed the drug release from THC-SLNs gel to follow Higuchi's equation revealing a Fickian diffusion. Ex vivo permeation studies indicated a 17 times (approximately) higher skin permeation of THC-SLNs gel as compared with the free THC gel. Skin irritation, occlusion, and stability studies indicated the formulation to be nonirritating, and stable with a desired occlusivity. Pharmacodynamic evaluation in an excision wound mice model clearly revealed the enhanced anti-inflammatory activity of THC-SLNs gel and was further confirmed using biochemical and histopathological studies. It is noteworthy to report here that THC-SLNs gel showed significantly better (p ≤ 0.001) activity than free THC in gel. As inflammation is innate to all the skin disorders, the developed product opens up new therapeutic avenues for several skin diseases. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper elaborating the therapeutic usefulness of white curcumin-loaded lipidic nanoparticles for skin inflammation.


Tetrahydrocurcumin; bioavailability; ex vivo permeation; histopathology; occlusion; skin inflammation; solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNs)

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