AAPS PharmSciTech

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 991–1000 | Cite as

Development of Chitosan-Based pH-Sensitive Polymeric Micelles Containing Curcumin for Colon-Targeted Drug Delivery

  • Thisirak Woraphatphadung
  • Warayuth Sajomsang
  • Theerasak Rojanarata
  • Tanasait Ngawhirunpat
  • Prasopchai Tonglairoum
  • Praneet Opanasopit
Research Article


pH-sensitive N-naphthyl-N,O-succinyl chitosan (NSCS) and N-octyl-N,O-succinyl chitosan (OSCS) polymeric micelles carriers have been developed to incorporate curcumin (CUR) for colon-targeted drug delivery. The physical entrapment methods (dialysis, co­solvent evaporation, dropping, and O/W emulsion) were applied. The CUR-loaded micelles prepared by the dialysis method presented the highest loading capacity. Increasing initial amount of CUR from 5 to 40 wt% to polymer resulted in the increase in loading capacity of the polymeric micelles. Among the hydrophobic cores, there were no significant differences in the loading capacity of CUR-loaded micelles. The particle sizes of all CUR-loaded micelles were in the range of 120–338 nm. The morphology of the micelles changed after being contacted with medium with different pH values, confirming the pH-responsive properties of the micelles. The release characteristics of curcumin from all CUR-loaded micelles were pH-dependent. The percent cumulative release of curcumin from all CUR-loaded micelles in simulated gastric fluid (SGF) was limited to about 20%. However, the release amount was significantly increased after contacted with simulated intestinal fluid (SIF) (50–55%) and simulated colonic fluid (SCF) (60–70%). The released amount in SIF and SCF was significantly greater than the release of CUR from CUR powder. CUR-loaded NSCS exhibited the highest anti-cancer activity against HT-29 colorectal cancer cells. The stability studies indicated that all CUR-loaded micelles were stable for at least 90 days. Therefore, the colon targeted, pH-sensitive NSCS micelles may have potential to be a prospective candidate for curcumin delivery to the colon.


pH-sensitive polymeric micelles curcumin NSCS OSCS oral colon-targeted drug delivery 



This research was supported by the Commission of Higher Education (Thailand), the Thailand Research Fund through the Golden Jubilee Ph.D. Program (Grant No. PHD/0027/2556), the Thailand Research Fund, the National Nature Science Foundation of China (NSFC), and the Silpakorn University Research and Development Institute.

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 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thisirak Woraphatphadung
    • 1
  • Warayuth Sajomsang
    • 2
  • Theerasak Rojanarata
    • 1
  • Tanasait Ngawhirunpat
    • 1
  • Prasopchai Tonglairoum
    • 1
  • Praneet Opanasopit
    • 1
  1. 1.Pharmaceutical Development of Green Innovations Group (PDGIG) Faculty of PharmacySilpakorn UniversityNakhon PathomThailand
  2. 2.National Nanotechnology Center (NANOTEC), National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA)Pathum ThaniThailand

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