Glyceryl monooleate/poloxamer 407 cubic nanoparticles as oral drug delivery systems: I. In vitro evaluation and enhanced oral bioavailability of the poorly water-soluble drug simvastatin.
Glyceryl monooleate (GMO)/poloxamer 407 cubic nanoparticles were investigated as potential oral drug delivery systems to enhance the bioavailability of the water-insoluble model drug simvastatin. The simvastatin-loaded cubic nanoparticles were prepared through fragmentation of the GMO/poloxamer 407 bulk cubic-phase gel using high-pressure homogenization. The internal structure of the cubic nanoparticles was identified by cryo-transmission electron microscopy. The mean diameter of the cubic nanoparticles varied within the range of 100-150 nm, and both GMO/poloxamer 407 ratio and theoretical drug loading had no significant effect on particle size and distribution. Almost complete entrapment with efficiency over 98% was achieved due to the high affinity of simvastatin to the hydrophobic regions of the cubic phase. Release of simvastatin from the cubic nanoparticles was limited both in 0.1 M hydrochloride solution containing 0.2% sodium lauryl sulfate and fasted-state simulated intestinal fluid with a total release of <3.0% at 10 h. Pharmacokinetic profiles in beagle dogs showed sustained plasma levels of simvastatin for cubic nanoparticles over 12 h. The relative oral bioavailability of simvastatin cubic nanoparticles calculated on the basis of area under the curve was 241% compared to simvastatin crystal powder. The enhancement of simvastatin bioavailability was possibly attributable to facilitated absorption by lipids in the formulation rather than improved release.