Effects of particle size on the pharmacokinetics of puerarin nanocrystals and microcrystals after oral administration to rat

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Graphical abstractWith the decreasing of particle size, an increasing of absolute bioavailability (Fa) and a decreasing of clearance rate (CL/F) were observed for puerarin nanocrystal, which reveals that nanocrystal technique can be used to improve the bioavailability of puerarin and the decrease of clearance rate might be an important way for nanocrystals to improve the oral bioavailability.Puerarin, which is extracted from traditional Chinese medicine, is widely used in clinic in China and mainly used as a therapeutic agent to cardiovascular diseases. Owing to its poor water solubility and adverse drug reactions caused by cosolvents after intravenous administration, the development of oral formulation is urgently needed. Nowadays, nanocrystals technique has become a preferred way to develop oral dosage form. In this study, we used high pressure homogenization (HPH) to prepare puerarin nanocrystals and microcrystals with different sizes ranged from 525.8 nm to 1875.6 nm and investigated the influence of particle size on pharmacokinetics. The nanocrystals and microcrystals prepared were characterized using DLS, DSC, XRD and SEM, and we found that the crystalline state of puerarin was changed during the preparation process and the drug was dispersed into HPMC. In the pharmacokinetic study, we observed an increasing of Cmax and AUC and a decreasing of CL/F with the decreasing of particle size. The AUC of the puerarin nanocrystals (525.8 nm) was 7.6-fold of that of raw puerarin suspension, with an absolute bioavailability of 21.44%. From the above results, we can conclude that nanocrystal technique is an efficient technology to improve the oral bioavailability of puerarin.

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