Increasing Cellular Uptake and Permeation of Curcumin Using a Novel Polymer-Surfactant Formulation

Zhenqi Liu, Alison Lansley, Tu Ngoc Duong, John Smart, Ananth Pannala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several therapeutically active molecules are poorly water-soluble, thereby creating a challenge for pharmaceutical scientists to develop an active solution for their oral drug delivery. This study aimed to investigate the potential for novel polymer-surfactant-based formulations (designated A and B) to improve the solubility and permeability of curcumin. A solubility study and characterization studies (FTIR, DSC and XRD) were conducted for the various formulations. The cytotoxicity of formulations and commercial comparators was tested via MTT and LDH assays, and their permeability by in vitro drug transport and cellular drug uptake was established using the Caco-2 cell model. The apparent permeability coefficients (Papp) are considered a good indicator of drug permeation. However, it can be argued that the magnitude of Papp, when used to reflect the permeability of the cells to the drug, can be influenced by the initial drug concentration (C0) in the donor chamber. Therefore, Papp (suspension) and Papp (solution) were calculated based on the different values of C0. It was clear that Papp (solution) can more accurately reflect drug permeation than Papp (suspension). Formulation A, containing Soluplus® and vitamin E TPGs, significantly increased the permeation and cellular uptake of curcumin compared to other samples, which is believed to be related to the increased aqueous solubility of the drug in this formulation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1739
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors (J.D.S., T.N.D. and A.S.P.) would like to thank the British Council Newton Fund Institutional Links Grant—216384282 for supporting part of this research work.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • Curcumin
  • Soluplus®
  • vitamin E TPGs
  • cell permeability
  • oral bioavailability
  • Caco-2 cell
  • aqueous solubility
  • Longvida®
  • Nacumin®
  • cytotoxicity
  • Longvida
  • Soluplus
  • Nacumin
  • curcumin


Dive into the research topics of 'Increasing Cellular Uptake and Permeation of Curcumin Using a Novel Polymer-Surfactant Formulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this