Chitosan Encapsulation Enhances the Bioavailability and Tissue Retention of Curcumin and Improves its Efficacy in Preventing B[a]P-induced Lung Carcinogenesis.

Cancer Prevention Research  2019 Apr;12(4):225-236. |  

Vinod Vijayakurup, Arun Kumar T Thulasidasan, Mohan Shankar G, Archana.P Retnakumari, C Devika Nandan, Jannet Somaraj, Jayesh Antony, Vijai V Alex, Balachandran S Vinod, Vijayasteltar Belsamma Liju, Sankar Sundaram, G S Vinod Kumar and Ruby John Anto

The rate of lung cancer incidence is alarmingly mounting, despite the decline of smoking and tobacco consumption. Recent reports indicate a very high correlation between the growing fast food culture and lung cancer incidence. Benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) is a potent carcinogen abundantly present in grilled and deep-fried food and in tobacco smoke. Our previous studies have proved the efficacy of curcumin in curbing B[a]P-induced lung carcinogenesis. However, the poor pharmacokinetic profile of the compound considerably hampers its potential as an effective chemopreventive. This study was intended to evaluate whether encapsulation of curcumin in chitosan nanoparticles can improve the cellular uptake and prolong the tissue retention of curcumin yielding better chemoprevention. The curcumin-loaded chitosan nanoparticles (chitosan nanocurcumin) exhibited a size of 170-200 nm in transmission electron microscopy. In vitro drug release studies showed sustained release of curcumin over a period of approximately 180 hours and excellent intracellular uptake and cytotoxicity in lung cancer cells. Bioavailability studies using healthy Swiss albino mice demonstrated drastic enhancement in lung localization of chitosan nanocurcumin compared with free curcumin. Toxicologic evaluation using chronic toxicity model in Swiss albino mice confirmed the pharmacologic safety of the formulation. Moreover, the formulation, even at a dose equivalent to one fourth that of free curcumin, exhibits better efficacy in reducing tumor incidence and multiplicity than free curcumin, thereby hampering development of B[a]P-induced lung adenocarcinomas in Swiss albino mice. Hence, our study underscores the supremacy of the formulation over free curcumin and establishes it as a potential chemopreventive and oral supplement against environmental carcinogenesis.


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