Ionic liquid – microemulsions assisting in the transdermal delivery of Dencichine: Preparation,in-vitroandin-vivoevaluations, and investigation of the permeation mechanism

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Graphical abstractA novel microemulsion was developed and characterized for topical delivery of Dencichine (Den). Two imidazaolium ionic liquid, 1-hydroxyethyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride ([HOEIM]Cl) and 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium dodecanesulfate ([BMIM]C12SO3) were incorporated into the aqueous and surfactant phases respectively for the remarkable enhancement on skin permeation. The nano-carrier was developed and optimized based on a pseudo-ternary phase diagram. The optimized formulation was composed of 50% water/[HOEIM]Cl mix (1:1) as water phase, 20% Tween 80/[BMIM]C12SO3 mix (1:1) as surfactant, 10% propylene glycol as co-surfactant and 20% IPM as oil phase. The o/w microemulsion was then characterized for droplets sizes (47.7 ± 1.5 nm), zeta potential (−14.83 ± 3.64 mV), viscosity (31 ± 4 mPa) and pH (6.71 ± 0.04). In-vitro skin permeation assay suggested the strong enhancement of ILs formulation on the topical delivery of Den, which was approximately 10-fold that of the drug aqueous solution. It was found that the nano-carrier can reduce the skin barrier properties by disrupting the regular and compact arrangements of corneocytes, and moderating the surface properties of the stratum corneum, as evidenced by Transdermal Water Loss Evaluation (TEWL), Differential Scanning Calorimetery (DSC) and attenuated total Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR). Furthermore, the in-vivo pharmacodynamic evaluation indicated the significant hemostatic activity of Den by the topical application of the vehicle. Additionally, the formulation showed minor cell toxicity and skin irritation. Therefore, our work suggested that the ionic liquid microemulsion can be a promising nano-scale vehicle for the topical application of Den to produce desirable pharmacological effects.

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