Curcumin-loaded self-emulsifying drug delivery system (cu-SEDDS): a promising approach for the control of primary pathogen and secondary bacterial infections in cutaneous leishmaniasis

  • Momin Khan
  • Muhammad AliEmail author
  • Walayat Shah
  • Akram Shah
  • Muhammad Masoom YasinzaiEmail author
Biotechnological products and process engineering


Cutaneous leishmaniasis being a neglected tropical disease (NTD) faces several challenges in chemotherapy. If infected with secondary bacterial infections, the treatment regime of cutaneous ulcers in cutaneous leishmaniasis is further complicated which usually require two or more than two chemotherapeutic agents for healing. In the current study, seven curcumin-loaded self-emulsifying drug delivery system (cu-SEDDS) formulations (namely F1–F7) were prepared by mixing different excipients (oils, surfactants, and co-solvents) through stirring (vortex) and sonication. The formulations were characterized regarding their droplet size, polydispersity index (PDI), and zeta potential by zeta sizer. The cu-SEDDS formulations displayed different sizes ranging from 32.4 up to 80.0 nm. The zeta potential of the formulations ranged from − 1.56 up to − 4.8. The antileishmanial activities of the cu-SEDDS formulations in terms of IC50 against Leishmania tropica ranged from 0.19 up to 0.37 μg/ml. The minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of these formulations against Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Klebsiella pneumoniae were in the range of 48–62 μg/ml. The hemolysis caused by formulations was 1–2%. The spreading potential of the formulations (F1 and F5) over damaged skin model was remarkable. These results suggest that cu-SEDDS further enhanced the broad spectrum antileishmanial and antibacterial profile of curcumin and could be used for the treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis and its associated secondary infections.


Curcumin SEDDS Cutaneous leishmaniasis Leishmania tropica Secondary bacterial pathogens 



We are thankful to Prof. Andreas Bernkop-Schnürch (Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Centre for Chemistry and Biomedicine (CCB) Innsbruck Austria) for the reagents, support, and encouragement. In addition we are thankful to Dr. Nazma Habib Khan for providing Leishmania tropica strain KWH23.

Funding information

This work was financially supported by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

This article contains some studies with human participants for which ethical approval was obtained from the Institutional Ethical Committee. For isolation of secondary bacterial infections, written and informed consent was obtained from the patients or their guardians (for children).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyQuaid-i-Azam UniversityIslamabadPakistan
  2. 2.Institute of Basic Medical Sciences (IBMS)Khyber Medical UniversityPeshawarPakistan
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyUniversity of PeshawarPeshawarPakistan
  4. 4.Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Basic SciencesInternational Islamic University IslamabadIslamabadPakistan

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