Enhanced oral bioavailability and hepatoprotective activity of thymoquinone in the form of phospholipidic nano-constructs

C. Rathore, N. Upadhyay, R. Kaundal, R. P. Dwivedi, S. Rahatekar, A. John, K. Dua, Murtaza Tambuwala, S. Jain, D. Chaudari, P. Negi

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    Background: The poor biopharmaceutical properties of thymoquinone (TQ) obstruct its development as a hepatoprotective agent. To surmount the delivery challenges of TQ, phospholipid nanoconstructs (PNCs) were constructed. Method: PNCs were constructed employing microemulsification technique and systematic optimization by three-factor three level Box-Behnken design. Result: Optimized PNC composition exhibited nano size (<100 nm), spherical morphology, within acceptable range of polydispersity index (0.55), high drug entrapment efficiency (>90%), controlled drug release pattern, and neutral surface charge (zeta potential of −0.65 mV). After oral administration of a single dose of PNC, it showed a relative bioavailability of 386.03% vis-à-vis plain TQ suspension. Further, TQ-loaded PNC demonstrated significant enhanced hepato-protective effect vis-à-vis pure TQ suspension and silymarin, as evidenced by reduction in the ALP, ALT, AST, bilirubin, and albumin level and ratified by histopathological analysis. Conclusion: TQ-loaded PNCs can be efficient nano-platforms for the management of hepatic disorders and promising drug delivery systems to enhance oral bioavailability of this hydrophobic molecule.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)237-253
    Number of pages17
    JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Delivery
    Issue number2
    Early online date31 Jan 2020
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Feb 2020


    • Thymoquinone
    • box-Behnken design
    • hepatotoxicity
    • lipid carriers
    • microemulsifcation
    • pharmacokinetics


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