An amphiphilic chitosan salt, chitosan oleate (CS-OA), was previously proposed for the physical stabilization of lemongrass antimicrobial nanoemulsions (NE) through a mild spontaneous emulsification process. As both chitosan and oleic acid are described in the literature for their positive effects in wound healing, in the present study CS-OA has been proposed to encapsulate alpha tocopherol (αTph) in NEs aimed to skin wounds. A NE formulation was developed showing about 220 nm dimensions, 36% drug loading, and αTph concentration up to 1 mg/ml.
Both CS-OA and αTph NE stimulated cell proliferation on keratinocytes and fibroblast cell cultures, and in ex vivo skin biopsies, suggesting the suitability of CS-OA and of the antioxidant agent for topical application in wound healing.
αTph stability was further improved with respect of encapsulation, by spray drying the NE into a powder (up to about 90% αTph residual after 3 months). The spray drying process was optimized, to improve powder yield and αTph recovery, by a design of experiments approach. The powder obtained was easily re-suspended to deliver the NE and resulted able to completely release αTph.