Disposition and association of the steric stabilizer Pluronic® F127 in lyotropic liquid crystalline nanostructured particle dispersions.

Research paper by Adam J AJ Tilley, Calum J CJ Drummond, Ben J BJ Boyd

Indexed on: 10 Nov '12Published on: 10 Nov '12Published in: Journal of Colloid and Interface Science


Liquid crystalline nanostructured particles, such as cubosomes and hexosomes, are most often colloidally stabilised using the tri-block co-polymer Pluronic® F127. Although the effect of F127 on the internal particle nanostructure has been well studied, the associative aspects of F127 with cubosomes and hexosomes are poorly understood. In this study the quantitative association of F127 with phytantriol-based cubosomes and hexosomes was investigated. The amount of free F127 in the dispersions was determined using pressure ultra-filtration. The percentage of F127 associated with the particles plateaued with increasing F127 concentration above the critical aggregation concentration. Hence the free concentration of F127 in the dispersion medium was proposed as a key factor governing association below the CMC, and partitioning of F127 between micelles and particles occurred above the CMC. The association of F127 with the particles was irreversible on dilution. The F127 associated with both the external and internal surfaces of the phytantriol cubosomes. The effects of lipid and F127 concentration, lipid type, dilution of the dispersions and internal nanostructure were also elucidated. A greater amount of F127 was associated with cubosomes comprised of glyceryl monooleate (GMO) than those prepared using phytantriol. Hexosomes prepared using a mixture of phytantriol and vitamin E acetate (vitEA) had a greater amount of F127 associated with them than phytantriol cubosomes. Hexosomes prepared using selachyl alcohol had less F127 associated with them than phytantriol:vitEA-based hexosomes and GMO-based cubosomes. This indicated that both the lipid from which the particles are composed and the particle internal nanostructure have an influence on the association of F127 with lyotropic liquid crystalline nanostructured particles.