AAPS PharmSciTech

, 20:69 | Cite as

An Evaluation of Curcumin-Encapsulated Chitosan Nanoparticles for Transdermal Delivery

  • Rajesh Sreedharan NairEmail author
  • Andrew Morris
  • Nashiru Billa
  • Chee-Onn Leong
Research Article


Curcumin-loaded chitosan nanoparticles were synthesised and evaluated in vitro for enhanced transdermal delivery. Zetasizer® characterisation of three different formulations of curcumin nanoparticles (Cu-NPs) showed the size ranged from 167.3 ± 3.8 nm to 251.5 ± 5.8 nm, the polydispersity index (PDI) values were between 0.26 and 0.46 and the zeta potential values were positive (+ 18.1 to + 20.2 mV). Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images supported this size data and confirmed the spherical shape of the nanoparticles. All the formulations showed excellent entrapment efficiency above 80%. FTIR results demonstrate the interaction between chitosan and sodium tripolyphosphate (TPP) and confirm the presence of curcumin in the nanoparticle. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) studies of Cu-NPs indicate the presence of curcumin in a disordered crystalline or amorphous state, suggesting the interaction between the drug and the polymer. Drug release studies showed an improved drug release at pH 5.0 than in pH 7.4 and followed a zero order kinetics. The in vitro permeation studies through Strat-M® membrane demonstrated an enhanced permeation of Cu-NPs compared to aqueous curcumin solution (p ˂ 0.05) having a flux of 0.54 ± 0.03 μg cm−2 h−1 and 0.44 ± 0.03 μg cm−2 h−1 corresponding to formulations 5:1 and 3:1, respectively. The cytotoxicity assay on human keratinocyte (HaCat) cells showed enhanced percentage cell viability of Cu-NPs compared to curcumin solution. Cu-NPs developed in this study exhibit superior drug release and enhanced transdermal permeation of curcumin and superior percentage cell viability. Further ex vivo and in vivo evaluations will be conducted to support these findings.


transdermal curcumin nanoparticles in vitro drug release permeation 



The authors would like to acknowledge the Faculty of Science at the University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) for the financial support of this project.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rajesh Sreedharan Nair
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrew Morris
    • 1
  • Nashiru Billa
    • 1
  • Chee-Onn Leong
    • 2
  1. 1.School of PharmacyUniversity of Nottingham MalaysiaSemenyihMalaysia
  2. 2.Center for Cancer and Stem Cell ResearchInternational Medical UniversityKuala LumpurMalaysia

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