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Preparation and Characterization of a Lecithin Nanoemulsion as a Topical Delivery System

Huafeng Zhou12, Yang Yue1, Guanlan Liu1, Yan Li1, Jing Zhang1, Qiu Gong1, Zemin Yan2 and Mingxing Duan1*

Author Affiliations

1 State-Key Laboratory of Biomembrane and Membrane, Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University, 100084, Beijing, China

2 Jiangsu Longliqi Bioscience Co., Ltd., 215555, Suzhou, China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2009, 5:224-230  doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9469-5

Published: 29 October 2009


Purpose of this study was to establish a lecithin nanoemulsion (LNE) without any synthetic surfactant as a topical delivery vehicle and to evaluate its topical delivery potential by the following factors: particle size, morphology, viscosity, stability, skin hydration and skin penetration. Experimental results demonstrated that an increasing concentration of soybean lecithin and glycerol resulted in a smaller size LNE droplet and increasing viscosity, respectively. The droplet size of optimized LNE, with the glycerol concentration above 75% (w/w), changed from 92 (F10) to 58 nm (F14). Additionally, LNE, incorporated into o/w cream, improved the skin hydration capacity of the cream significantly with about 2.5-fold increase when the concentration of LNE reached 10%. LNE was also demonstrated to improve the penetrability of Nile red (NR) dye into the dermis layer, when an o/w cream, incorporated with NR-loaded LNE, applied on the abdominal skin of rat in vivo. Specifically, the arbitrary unit (ABU) of fluorescence in the dermis layer that had received the cream with a NR-loaded LNE was about 9.9-fold higher than the cream with a NR-loaded general emulsion (GE). These observations suggest that LNE could be used as a promising topical delivery vehicle for lipophilic compounds.

Lecithin; Nanoemulsion; Fluorescence; Topical delivery system; Skin hydration