Nanocrystal formulations of a poorly soluble drug. 2. Evaluation of nanocrystal liver uptake and distribution after intravenous administration to mice

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A stabilized high drug load intravenous formulation could allow compounds with less optimal pharmacokinetic profiles to be developed. Polyethylene glycol (PEG)-ylation is a frequently used strategy for particle delivery systems to avoid the liver, thereby extending blood circulation time. The present work reports the mouse in vivo distribution after i.v. administration of a series of nanocrystals prepared with the bead milling technique and PEG-ylated with DSPE-PEG2000 and Pluronic F127, with and without polyvinylpyrrolidone K30 (PVP)/Aerosol OT (AOT) as primary stabilizers. While all formulations were cleared significantly faster than expected from nanocrystal dissolution alone, purely DSPE-PEG2000 PEG-ylated particles displayed prolonged circulation time (particles elimination half-life of 9 min) compared to DSPE-PEG2000/PVP/AOT formulation (half-life of 3 min). The two Pluronic F127 stabilized formulations displayed similar half-lives (9 min with and without PVP/AOT, respectively). Whole tissue kinetics shows that clearance of particles could be attributed to accumulation in the liver. A separate in vivo study addressed the liver cell distribution after administration. Dissolved compound accumulated in hepatocytes only, while particles were distributed between liver sinusoidal endothelial cells and Kupffer cells. More DSPE-PEG2000/PVP/AOT stabilized particles accumulated in the liver, preferably in Kupffer cells, compared to Pluronic F127/PVP/AOT stabilized particles. The present study extends the understanding of PEG-ylation and “stealth” behaviour to also include nanocrystals.

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