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Development and characterization of phyto-vesicles of β-sitosterol for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia


Alopecia is a psychologically distressing phenomenon. Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is the most common form of alopecia, which affects millions of men and women worldwide, and is an androgen driven disorder. To study the effect of β-sitosterol phyto-vesicles on AGA, the testosterone-induced alopecia model was used. For the study, the albino rats were used and the period of study was 21 days. β-Sitosterol is a phytosterol which is chemically similar to cholesterol. This compound was found suitable for the preparation of phyto-vesicles by the process involving its complexation with phosphatidyl choline. Pharmacokinetic studies of β-sitosterol reveal its poor absorption through the intestine. The objective of the present study is to enhance the bioavailability of β-sitosterol by its complexation with phosphatidyl choline and then to formulate it as phyto-vesicles for the treatment of alopecia. The complex of β-sitosterol was prepared with phosphatidyl choline and characterized on the basis of solubility, melting point, TLC, UV, IR and NMR spectroscopy. This complex was then formulated as phyto-vesicles and then characterized. The results revealed that effect on alopecia is better in case of phyto-vesicles as compared to the complex, physical mixture and the β-sitosterol itself. Enhanced bioavailability of the β-sitosterol complex may be due to the amphiphilic nature of the complex, which greatly enhance the water and lipid solubility of the compound. The present study clearly indicates the superiority of phyto-vesicles over the complex and β-sitosterol, in terms of better absorption and improved activity for the treatment of alopecia.

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The authors would like to acknowledge Acros Organics, New Jersey, USA for the gift sample of β-sitosterol. The authors would also like to thank LIPOID GmbH (Germany) for providing the gift samples of phosphatidyl choline and UGC for providing the financial assistance.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Kirti Upadhyay.

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Upadhyay, K., Gupta, N.K. & Dixit, V.K. Development and characterization of phyto-vesicles of β-sitosterol for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. Arch Dermatol Res 304, 511–519 (2012).

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