Background: It has been shown that curcumin (Cur) has anti-plasmodial activity; however,
its weak bioavailability, rapid metabolism, and limited chemical stability have restricted its application
in clinical usages. Nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs) are a type of Drug-Delivery Systems (DDSs)
whose core matrix is composed of both solid and liquid lipids.
Objective: The aim of the current study was to prepare and characterize curcumin-loaded nanostructured
lipid carriers (Cur-NLC) for malaria treatment.
Methods: For producing NLC, coconut oil and cetyl palmitate were selected as a liquid and solid lipid,
respectively. In order to prepare the Cur-NLC, the microemulsion method was applied. General toxicity
assay on Artemia salina as well as hemocompatibility was investigated. Anti-plasmodial activity was
studied on mice infected with Plasmodium berghei.
Results: The NLCs mean particle size and Polydispersity Index (PI) were 145 nm and 0.3, respectively.
Further, the zeta potential of the Cur-NLC was −25 mV. The NLCs indicated a pseudo-spherical shape
observed via transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The loading capacity and encapsulation efficacy
of the obtained Cur-NLC were 3.1 ± 0.015% and 74 ± 3.32%, respectively. In vitro, Cur release profiles
showed a sustained-release pattern up to 5 days in the synthesized Cur-NLC. The results of in vivo antiplasmodial
activity against P. berghei revealed that antimalarial activity of Cur-NLC was significantly
higher compared with that of free Cur at the dose of 40 mg/kg/day.
Conclusion: The results of this study suggested that NLC would be used as a potential nanocarrier for
the treatment of malaria.