Nanocrystal formulations of a poorly soluble drug. 1.In vitrocharacterization of stability, stabilizer adsorption and uptake in liver cells

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Graphical abstract

The in vitro distribution of two different nanocrystal formulations, stabilized with either DSPE-PEG2000 (dashed) or Pluronic F127 (coloured), between Kupffer cells (KCs) and liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs). In both cases was also PVP/AOT included as stabilizers. Albumin was the only protein present.

In the present work, milled nanocrystals of a poorly soluble compound using different stabilizers were prepared and characterized. The aim of the study was to evaluate a fundamental set of properties of the formulations prior to i.v. injection of the particles. Two polyethylene oxide containing stabilizers; (distearoyl phosphatidylethanol amine (DSPE)) −PEG2000 and the triblock copolymer Pluronic F127, were investigated, with and without polyvinylpyrrolidone K30/Aerosol OT (PVP/AOT) present. The solubility in water was around 10 nM for the compound, measured from nanocrystals, but 1000 times higher in 4% human serum albumin. The particles were physically stable during the time investigated. The zeta potential was around −30 and −10 mV for DSPE-PEG2000 and Pluronic F127 stabilized particles, respectively, at the conditions selected. The dissolution rate was similar for all four formulations and similar to the theoretically predicted rate. Critical micelle concentrations were determined as 56 nM and 1.4 μM for DSPE-PEG2000 and Pluronic F127, respectively. The adsorption isotherms for the PEG lipid showed a maximum adsorbed amount of about 1.3 mg/m2, with and without PVP/AOT. Pluronic F127 showed a higher maximum amount adsorbed, at around 3.1 mg/m2, and marginally lower with PVP/AOT present. Calculated data showed that the layer of Pluronic F127 was thicker than the corresponding DSPE-PEG2000 layer. The total amount of particles distributed mainly to the liver, and the hepatocellular distribution in vitro (Liver sinusoidal endothelial cells and Kupffer cells), differed depending on the stabilizing mixture on the particles. Overall, DSPE-PEG2000 stabilized nanocrystals (with PVP/AOT) accumulated to a larger degree in the liver compared to particles with Pluronic F127 on the surface. A theoretical model was developed to interpret in vivo pharmacokinetic profiles, explaining the balance between dissolution and liver uptake. With the present, fundamental data of the nanocrystal formulations, the platform for forthcoming in vivo studies was settled.

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