Novel strategy for improving the bioavailability of curcumin based on a new membrane transport mechanism that directly involves solid particles

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Abstract

Amorphization has been widely recognized as a useful solubilization technique for poorly water-soluble drugs, such as curcumin. We have recently reported the novel finding that the membrane transport of curcumin was markedly enhanced when amorphous solid particles of curcumin came into direct contact with the lipid membrane surface, but this was not true for crystalline solid particles. The increase in the permeation of curcumin was found to be independent of the improvements in aqueous solubility brought about by amorphization. Thus, we have identified a novel membrane transport mechanism that directly involves solid particles. In addition, it might represent a novel strategy for improving the bioavailability of curcumin that does not focus on the aqueous solubility of the drug. In this study, the direct effects of the administration of amorphous nanoparticles of curcumin (ANC) on the in vivo intestinal absorption of curcumin were investigated. After the intraduodenal administration of a curcumin suspension, the area under the curve of the plasma concentration of curcumin increased in a manner that was dependent on the curcumin concentration of the suspension, while no significant absorption was observed from a saturated solution. This finding is consistent with the results from our in vitro transepithelial transport study. In the latter experiment, the bioavailability of curcumin was found to be 1–2%. The intrapulmonary insufflation of ANC powder resulted in a significant increase in the bioavailability of curcumin (it was two orders of magnitude higher than that seen after the application of a crystalline suspension). This was due to the ANC particles coming into contact with epithelial cells in a more efficient manner after the pulmonary application of the ANC powder than after the intestinal application of the ANC suspension. Therefore, the pulmonary insufflation of amorphous powder is a novel approach to improving the bioavailability of curcumin and might be a useful way of increasing the bioavailability of poorly water-soluble drugs, such as curcumin.

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