High payload nanostructured lipid carriers fabricated with alendronate/polyethyleneimine ion complexes
Oral bioavailability of the anti-osteoporotic drug alendronate (AL) is limited to ≤ 1% due to unfavorable physicochemical properties. To augment absorption across the gastrointestinal mucosa, an ion pair complex between AL and polyethyleneimine (PEI) was formed and incorporated into nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs) using a modified solvent injection method. When compared to free AL, ion pairing with PEI increased drug encapsulation efficiency in NLCs from 10% to 87%. Drug release from NLCs measured in vitro using fasted state simulated intestinal fluid, pH 6.5 (FaSSIF-V2) was significantly delayed after PEI complexation. Stability of AL/PEI was pH-dependent resulting in 10-fold faster dissociation of AL in FaSSIF-V2 than measured at pH 7.4. Intestinal permeation properties estimated in vitro across Caco-2 cell monolayers revealed a 3-fold greater flux of AL encapsulated as hydrophobic ion complex in NLCs when compared to AL solution (Papp = 8.43 ± 0.14 × 10−6 cm/s and vs. 2.76 ± 0.42 × 10−6 cm/s). Cellular safety of AL/PEI-containing NLCs was demonstrated up to an equivalent AL concentration of 2.5 mM. These results suggest that encapsulation of AL/PEI in NLCs appears a viable drug delivery strategy for augmenting oral bioavailability of this clinically relevant bisphosphonate drug and, simultaneously, increase gastrointestinal safety.