Journal of pharmaceutical sciences

Improved permeability of acyclovir: optimization of mucoadhesive liposomes using the phospholipid vesicle-based permeation assay.

PMID 24395733


The antiviral drug acyclovir (ACV) suffers from poor solubility both in lipophilic and hydrophilic environment, leading to low and highly variable bioavailability. To overcome these limitations, this study aimed at designing mucoadhesive ACV-containing liposomes to improve its permeability. Liposomes were prepared from egg phosphatidylcholine (E-PC) and E-PC/egg phosphatidylglycerol (E-PC/E-PG) and their surfaces coated with Carbopol. All liposomal formulations were fully characterized and for the first time the phospholipid vesicle-based permeation assay (PVPA) was used for testing in vitro permeability of drug from mucoadhesive liposome formulations. The negatively charged E-PC/E-PG liposomes could encapsulate more ACV than neutral E-PC liposomes. Coating with Carbopol increased the entrapment in the neutral E-PC liposomes. The incorporation of ACV into liposomes exhibited significant increase in its in vitro permeability, compared with its aqueous solution. The neutral E-PC liposomal formulations exhibited higher ACV permeability values compared with charged E-PC/E-PG formulations. Coating with Carbopol significantly enhanced the permeability from the E-PC/E-PG liposomes, as well as sonicated E-PC liposomes, which showed the highest permeability of all tested formulations. The increased permeability was according to the formulations' mucoadhesive properties. This indicates that the PVPA is suitable to distinguish between permeability of ACV from different mucoadhesive liposome formulations developed for various routes of administration.