Oral delivery of curcumin bound to chitosan nanoparticles cured Plasmodium yoelii infected mice
Curcumin has been shown to have anti malarial activity, but poor bioavailability and chemical instability has hindered its development as a drug. We have bound curcumin to chitosan nanoparticles to improve its bioavailability and chemical stability. We found that curcumin bound to chitosan nanoparticles did not degrade that rapidly in comparison to free curcumin when such particles were incubated in mouse plasma in vitro at room temperature. The uptake of bound curcumin from chitosan nanoparticles by mouse RBC was much better than from free curcumin. Oral delivery of curcumin bound chitosan nanoparticles to normal mice showed that they can cross the mucosal barrier intact and confocal microscopy detected the nanoparticles in the blood. Curcumin loaded chitosan nanoparticles when delivered orally improved the bioavailability of curcumin in the plasma and RBC. While mice infected with a lethal strain of Plasmodium yoelii (N-67) died between 8 and 9 days post infection, feeding of chitosan nanoparticles alone made them to survive for five more days. Feeding 1 mg of native curcumin to infected mice per day for seven days resulted in survival of one third of mice but under the same condition when 1 mg of curcumin bound to chitosan nanoparticles was fed all the mice survived. Like chloroquine, curcumin inhibited parasite lysate induced heme polymerization in vitro in a dose dependent manner and curcumin had a lower IC50 value than chloroquine. We believe that binding of curcumin to chitosan nanoparticles increases its chemical stability and enhances its bioavailability when fed to mice. In vitro data suggest that it can inhibit hemozoin synthesis which is lethal for the parasite.
Journal: Biotechnology Advances - Volume 30, Issue 1, January–February 2012, Pages 310–320