Evaluation of paeonol-loaded transethosomes as transdermal delivery carriers

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Paeonol shows effective anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities. However, because of its poor solubility in water and high volatility at room temperature, the application of this drug is restricted in the clinic. The objective of this research was to develop a biocompatible paeonol formulation with improved stability, skin delivery and pharmacokinetic efficiency. In this paper, paeonol-loaded vesicles were prepared using an ethanol injection method. Nano-vesicles were characterized for their physical properties and encapsulation efficiency (EE). Drug permeation behavior in vitro and deposition quantity in porcine ear skin were measured with a Valia-Chien (V-C) diffusion device. Additionally, a validated and sensitive high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method was developed to analyze paeonol concentrations in rat plasma after transdermal administration. The results showed that the particle-size order of the nano-vesicles was the following: transethosomes (122.5 ± 7.5 nm) < transfersomes (256.5 ± 8.9 nm). Compared to the paeonol transfersomes, the transethosomes had a higher EE (85.5 ± 5.2%), and they showed a spherical morphology with a smooth surface when viewed under a transmission electron microscope (TEM). In an in vitro permeation study, the paeonol transethosomes showed an enhanced transdermal flux of 95.7 ± 8.8 μg/cm2/h and a higher deposition quantity in porcine ear skin compared to the transfersomes. A one-compartment first-order absorption model could be used to describe the pharmacokinetics of paeonol in rats after transdermal administration. The AUC of the paeonol transethosomes was approximately 1.57- and 3.52-fold higher than those of the transfersomes and a saturated solution of paeonol in 35% ethanol, respectively. The results demonstrated that the paeonol transethosomes had a narrow size distribution, high encapsulation efficiency, and long residence in the plasma. This formulation remarkably enhanced the bioavailability of paeonol.

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