Scientific publications

Zein-based nanospheres and nanocapsules for the encapsulation and oral delivery of quercetin

Jul 7, 2023 | Magazine: International Journal of Pharmaceutics

Raquel Campión  1 , Carlos J Gonzalez-Navarro  2 , Ana Luisa Martínez López  1 , M Cristina Martínez-Oharriz  3 , Cristina Matías  4 , María-José Sáiz-Abajo  4 , Maria Collantes  5 , Ivan Peñuelas  6 , Juan M Irache  7


In this study, the ability of zein nanospheres (NS) and zein nanocapsules containing wheat germ oil (NC) to enhance the bioavailability and efficacy of quercetin was evaluated.

Both types of nanocarriers had similar physico-chemical properties, including size (between 230 and 250 nm), spherical shape, negative zeta potential, and surface hydrophobicity. However, NS displayed a higher ability than NC to interact with the intestinal epithelium, as evidenced by an oral biodistribution study in rats.

Moreover, both types of nanocarriers offered similar loading efficiencies and release profiles in simulated fluids. In C. elegans, the encapsulation of quercetin in nanospheres (Q-NS) was found to be two twice more effective than the free form of quercetin in reducing lipid accumulation.

For nanocapsules, the presence of wheat germ oil significantly increased the storage of lipids in C. elegans; although the incorporation of quercetin (Q-NC) significantly counteracted the presence of the oil. Finally, nanoparticles improved the oral absorption of quercetin in Wistar rats, offering a relative oral bioavailability of 26% and 57% for Q-NS and Q-NC, respectively, compared to a 5% for the control formulation.

Overall, the study suggests that zein nanocarriers, particularly nanospheres, could be useful in improving the bioavailability and efficacy of quercetin.

CITATION  Int J Pharm. 2023 Jul 7;123216.  doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2023.123216