Indexed on: 12 Feb '14Published on: 12 Feb '14Published in: International Journal of Pharmaceutics
N-trimethyl chitosan (TMC) with different degree of quaternization (DQ) as the coating materials, vitamin A palmitate (VAP)-loaded cationic liposomes dispersed in thermo-sensitive in-situ gels (ISG) with poloxamer 407 (P407) as the base were prepared in this study. VAP-loaded liposomes (VAPL) were prepared using a film dispersion method followed by TMC-coating with DQ of 20%, 40% and 60% (TMC20, TMC40 and TMC60), respectively, then dispersed in P407 solution to obtain TMC-coated VAPL ISG. The in vitro properties of the system including morphology, size, zeta potential, entrapment efficiency, drug release and ocular retention were investigated. The ocular retention in vivo, eye irritation and pharmacokinetics in aqueous humor of the system were also studied in rabbits. VAPL revealed a spherical surface with mean size below 100nm and negative zeta potential. After TMC-coating, the morphology and entrapment efficiency showed no significant changes, while the mean size was increased, zeta potential was changed into positive, and drug release was further sustained, and above all was influenced by DQ of TMC. TMC-coated VAPL exhibited little effect on the gelation temperature of P407 solution, and at the P407 concentration of 25% (w/v), TMC-coated VAPL ISG had the gelation temperature closest to the eye surface (34°C) after diluted by the artificial tears. Compared with uncoated VAPL ISG and the marketed Oculotect gels, TMC-coated VAPL ISG displayed more retarded drug release and gel corrosion with a good linear relationship between them, and the higher DQ was, the slower drug release and gel corrosion. The ocular retention time in vitro and in vivo of TMC-coated VAPL ISG were both notable prolonged with a positive correlation with DQ of TMC. Compared with the marketed gels, TMC60-coated VAPL ISG showed delayed Tmax, improved Cmax and AUC(0-24) in rabbit aqueous humor, suggesting the sustained drug release and better corneal penetration and absorption. The local irritation of TMC-coated VAPL ISG was proved to be negligible. TMC-coated VAPL ISG with the properties of sustained drug release, prolonged ocular retention, improved corneal penetration and promising bio-safety is valuable to be studied further.