Preparation of curcumin-loaded PCL-PEG-PCL triblock copolymeric nanoparticles by a microchannel technology

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Biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) have potential therapeutic applications; however, preparing NPs of a specific diameter and uniform size distribution is a challenge. In this work, we fabricated a microchannel system for the preparation of curcumin (Cur)-loaded NPs by the interfacial precipitation method, which rapidly and consistently generated stable NPs with a relatively smaller diameter, narrow size distribution, and higher drug-loading capacity and entrapment efficiency. Poly(ε-caprolactone)-poly(ethylene glycol)-poly (ε-caprolactone) triblock copolymers(PCEC) used as the carrier material was synthesized and characterized. Cur-loaded PCEC NPs had an average size of 167.2 nm with a zeta potential of −29.23 mV, and showed a loading capacity and drug entrapment efficiency of 15.28% ± 0.23% and 96.11% ± 0.13%, respectively. Meanwhile, the NPs demonstrated good biocompatibility and bioavailability, efficient cellular uptake, and long circulation time and a possible liver targeting effect in vivo. These results indicate that the Cur-loaded PCEC NPs can be used as drug carriers in controlled delivery systems and other biomedical applications.

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