Nanoemulsion formulations for anti-cancer agent piplartine—Characterization, toxicological, pharmacokinetics and efficacy studies

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Piplartine (PL) is an alkaloid found in black-pepper and known for its anticancer activity, however, due to poor solubility and lack of proper formulation, its use for oral administration is a challenge. The objective of this study was to formulate PL into nanoemulsion drug delivery system for oral delivery and thereafter evaluate toxicity, pharmacokinetics and therapeutic efficacy. Optimized nanoemulsions were formulated by self-emulsification as well as by homogenization–sonication method. Two nanoemulsions enhanced the solubility of PL with low polydispersity index and high stability. Both PL loaded nanoemulsions exhibited enhanced dissolution, cellular permeability and cytotoxic effects as compared to pure PL. Formulation of PL into nanoemulsions did not obstruct its cellular uptake in cancer cells. Blank or PL loaded nanoemulsions did not exhibited toxicity in mice upon daily oral administration for 60 days. Pharmacokinetics of PL followed a two-compartment model after intravenous administration. PL loaded nanoemulsions showed 1.5-fold increase in oral bioavailability as compared to free PL. Finally, PL loaded nanoemulsions showed marked anti-tumor activity at a dose of 10 mg/kg in melanoma tumor bearing mice. In conclusion, for the first time we have developed a stable nanoemulsion delivery system for oral administration of PL, which enhanced its solubility, oral bioavailability and anti-tumor efficacy.

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