Development and evaluation of topical formulations for a novel skin whitening agent (AP736) using Hansen solubility parameters and PEG-PCL polymers

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AP736 itself is a novel skin whitening agent reported to exhibit anti-melanogenic and tyrosinase inhibitory activity. However, formulating a topical product has been difficult because AP736 is insoluble in water as well as in many oils. In this study, we aimed to develop a new topical delivery system in which AP736 is not only physically stable, but also suitably delivered to the skin. By calculating each HSP (Hansen Solubility Parameters), ethylenedioxy moiety-containing compounds could be easily selected for the formulation ingredients of AP736. Although diethylene glycol monoethyl ether with the highest solubility of AP736 enalbes to make AP736-incorporated water-in-oil emulsions well, the recrystallization of AP736 was observed in oil-in-water emulsions. Therefore, we fabricated polymeric nanoparticles (PNPs) in order to encapsulate AP736 to prevent its recrystallization. We used three different PEG-PCL polymers with various chain lengths and ethylenedioxy moiety-containing surfactants (i.e. Choleth) for fabricating PNPs. The prepared PNPs had a mean particle size from 50nm to 200nm. Most of PNPs showed the good encapsulation efficiency up to 90%. In particular, Choleth-24 had a significant role in encapsulating AP736 in PNPs. After encapsulation of AP736, no significant changes were observed in the sizes of tested PNPs within 4weeks. Further, the recrystallization of AP736 was not observed in oil-in-water emulsions after 24weeks of storage at 40°C. In vitro permeation study using Strat-M showed that PNPs containing Choleth-24 has the faster release pattern compared to PNPs using Tween 80 and saturated in D.I. water. These results are demonstrating that PNPs might be an effective vehicle for stabilization in oil-in-water emulsions and topical application of AP736.

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