Monitoring the Fate of Orally Administered PLGA Nanoformulation for Local Delivery of Therapeutic Drugs

Lucia Morelli, Sara Gimondi, Marta Sevieri, Lucia Salvioni, Maria Guizzetti, Barbara Colzani, Luca Palugan, Anastasia Foppoli, Laura Talamini, Lavinia Morosi, Massimo Zucchetti, Martina Bruna Violatto, Luca Russo, Mario Salmona, Davide Prosperi, Miriam Colombo, Paolo Bigini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the goals of the pharmaceutical sciences is the amelioration of targeted drug delivery. In this context, nanocarrier-dependent transportation represents an ideal method for confronting a broad range of human disorders. In this study, we investigated the possibility of improving the selective release of the anti-cancer drug paclitaxel (PTX) in the gastro-intestinal tract by encapsulating it into the biodegradable nanoparticles made by FDA-approved poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) and coated with polyethylene glycol to improve their stability (PLGA-PEG-NPs). Our study was performed by combining the synthesis and characterization of the nanodrug with in vivo studies of pharmacokinetics after oral administration in mice. Moreover, fluorescent PLGA-nanoparticles (NPs), were tested both in vitro and in vivo to observe their fate and biodistribution. Our study demonstrated that PLGA-NPs: (1) are stable in the gastric tract; (2) can easily penetrate inside carcinoma colon 2 (CaCo2) cells; (3) reduce the PTX absorption from the gastrointestinal tract, further limiting systemic exposure; (4) enable PTX local targeting. At present, the oral administration of biodegradable nanocarriers is limited because of stomach degradation and the sink effect played by the duodenum. Our findings, however, exhibit promising evidence towards our overcoming these limitations for a more specific and safer strategy against gastrointestinal disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 6 2019


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