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Fabrication of Fine Puerarin Nanocrystals by Box–Behnken Design to Enhance Intestinal Absorption


Puerarin is widely used as a therapeutic agent to cardiovascular diseases in clinics in China through intravenous administration, which could elicit adverse drug reactions caused by cosolvents, hindering its application in clinics. Therefore, the development of oral dosage is urgently needed. In our previous studies, we proved that the bioavailability of puerarin increased as particle sizes of nanocrystals decreased; however, we have not optimized the best process parameters for nanocrystals. In this study, we aim to fabricate fine nanocrystals (with smallest particle size) by Box–Behnken design and study the intestinal permeability of puerarin and its nanocrystals via employing everted gut sac model and in situ perfusion model. The results showed that the Box–Behnken design could be used to optimize the producing parameters of puerarin nanocrystals, and the particle sizes of fine nanocrystals were about 20 nm. Results of everted gut sacs showed that the polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) and verapamil had no influence on the absorption of puerarin and nanocrystals, and the nanocrystals could increase the Papp of puerarin for 2.2-, 2.9-, and 2.9-folds, respectively, in duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. Enhanced Ka and Peff were observed on the nanocrystal group, compared with puerarin, and PVP and verapamil had no influence on the absorption of nanocrystals, while the absorption of puerarin was influenced by P-gp efflux. Combining the results mentioned above, we can conclude that the Box–Behnken design benefits the optimization for preparation of nanocrystals, and the nanocrystals could enhance the intestinal absorption of puerarin by enhanced permeability and inhibited P-gp efflux.

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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81960717, 81573623), the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangxi province (20192BAB215057), and the “Double First-Class” discipline project of Jiangxi Province (JXSYLXK-ZHYA0015).

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Correspondence to Jianfang Feng or Liangxing Tu.

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All procedures were approved by the Animal Research Ethics Committee, Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

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Cheng, M., Yuan, F., Liu, J. et al. Fabrication of Fine Puerarin Nanocrystals by Box–Behnken Design to Enhance Intestinal Absorption. AAPS PharmSciTech 21, 90 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1208/s12249-019-1616-4

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  • puerarin
  • nanocrystals
  • Box–Behnken design
  • everted gut sacs
  • in situ perfusion