In vitro and ex vivo evaluation of polymeric nanoparticles for vaginal and rectal delivery of the anti-HIV drug dapivirine

J. das Neves, F. Araujo, F. Andrade, J. Michiels, K.K. Ariën, G. Vanham, M. Amiji, M.F. Bahia, B. Sarmento

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


Prevention strategies such as the development of microbicides are thought to be valuable in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Despite recent achievements, there is still a long road ahead in the field, particularly at the level of drug formulation. Drug nanocarriers based on polymers may be useful in enhancing local drug delivery while limiting systemic exposure. We prepared differently surface-engineered poly(epsilon-caprolactone) (PCL) nanoparticles (NPs) and tested their ability to modulate the permeability and retention of dapivirine in cell monolayers and pig vaginal and rectal mucosa. NPs coated with poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) were shown able to reduce permeability across monolayers/tissues, while modification of nanosystems with cetyl trimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) enhanced transport. In the case of coating NPs with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), dapivirine permeability was unchanged. All NPs increased monolayer/tissue drug retention as compared to unformulated dapivirine. This fact was associated, at least partially, to the ability of NPs to be taken up by cells or penetrate mucosal tissue. Cell and tissue toxicity was also affected differently by NPs: PEO modification decreased the in vitro (but not ex vivo) toxicity of dapivirine, while higher toxicity was generally observed for NPs coated with SLS or CTAB. Overall, presented results support that PCL nanoparticles are capable of modulating drug permeability and retention in cell monolayers and mucosal tissues relevant for vaginal and rectal delivery of microbicides. In particular, PEO-modified dapivirine-loaded PCL NPs may be advantageous in increasing drug residence at epithelial cell lines/mucosal tissues, which may potentially increase the efficacy of microbicide drugs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)2793-2807
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Viral diseases
  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • Prevention
  • Microbicides
  • Dapivirine
  • Evaluation
  • Vaginal
  • Rectal
  • Drug administration
  • Nanoparticles
  • In vitro
  • In vivo
  • Drug development
  • Toxicity
  • Epithelial cells
  • Mucosal
  • Laboratory techniques and procedures


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