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Optimized zein nanospheres for improved oral bioavailability of atorvastatin.

International journal of nanomedicine (2015-07-08)
Fahima M Hashem, Majid M Al-Sawahli, Mohamed Nasr, Osama A A Ahmed
ABSTRACT

This work focuses on the development of atorvastatin utilizing zein, a natural, safe, and biocompatible polymer, as a nanosized formulation in order to overcome the poor oral bioavailability (12%) of the drug. Twelve experimental runs of atorvastatin-zein nanosphere formula were formulated by a liquid-liquid phase separation method according to custom fractional factorial design to optimize the formulation variables. The factors studied were: weight % of zein to atorvastatin (X1), pH (X2), and stirring time (X3). Levels for each formulation variable were designed. The selected dependent variables were: mean particle size (Y1), zeta potential (Y2), drug loading efficiency (Y3), drug encapsulation efficiency (Y4), and yield (Y5). The optimized formulation was assayed for compatibility using an X-ray diffraction assay. In vitro diffusion of the optimized formulation was carried out. A pharmacokinetic study was also done to compare the plasma profile of the atorvastatin-zein nanosphere formulation versus atorvastatin oral suspension and the commercially available tablet. The optimized atorvastatin-zein formulation had a mean particle size of 183 nm, a loading efficiency of 14.86%, and an encapsulation efficiency of 29.71%. The in vitro dissolution assay displayed an initial burst effect, with a cumulative amount of atorvastatin released of 41.76% and 82.3% after 12 and 48 hours, respectively. In Wistar albino rats, the bioavailability of atorvastatin from the optimized atorvastatin-zein formulation was 3-fold greater than that from the atorvastatin suspension and the commercially available tablet. The atorvastatin-zein nanosphere formulation improved the oral delivery and pharmacokinetic profile of atorvastatin by enhancing its oral bioavailability.

MATERIALS
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