Site-directed non-covalent polymer-drug complexes for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): Formulation development, characterization and pharmacological evaluation

Siddharth S. Kesharwani, Rizwan Ahmad, Mohammed Ali Bakkari, Mrigendra K.S. Rajput, Rakesh Dachineni, Chaitanya K. Valiveti, Saurabh Kapur, G. Jayarama Bhat, Amar B. Singh, Hemachand Tummala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) is a debilitating condition that affects ~70,000 new people every year and has been described as “an expensive disease with no known cure”. In addition, IBD increases the risk of developing colon cancer. The current therapeutics for IBD focus on the established disease where the immune dysfunction and bowel damage have already occurred but do not prevent or delay the progression. The current work describes a polymer-based anti-inflammatory technology (Ora-Curcumin-S) specifically targeted to the luminal side of the colon for preventing and/or treating IBD. Ora-Curcumin-S was prepared by molecular complexation of curcumin with a hydrophilic polymer Eudragit® S100 using co-precipitation method. Curcumin interacted with the polymer non-covalently and existed in an amorphous state as demonstrated by various physicochemical techniques. Ora-Curcumin-S is a polymer-drug complex, which is different than solid dispersions in that the interactions are retained even after dissolving in aqueous buffers. Ora-Curcumin-S was >1000 times water soluble than curcumin and importantly, the enhanced solubility was pH-dependent, which was observed only at pHs above 6.8. In addition, around 90% of Ora-Curcumin-S was stable in phosphate buffer, pH 7.4 and simulated intestinal fluid after 24 h, in contrast to 10–20% unformulated curcumin. Ora-Curcumin-S inhibited Monophosphoryl Lipid-A and E. coli induced inflammatory responses in dendritic cells and cells over expressing Toll-Like Receptor-4 (TLR-4) suggesting that Ora-Curcumin-S is a novel polymer-based TLR-4 antagonist. Preliminary pharmacokinetics in mice showed targeted delivery of soluble curcumin to the colon lumen without exposing to the systemic circulation. Furthermore, Ora-Curcumin-S significantly prevented colitis and associated injury in a mouse model of ulcerative colitis estimated using multiple preclinical parameters: colonoscopy pictures, body weight, colon length, colon edema, spleen weight, pro-inflammatory signaling and independent pathological scoring. Overall, the outcome of this innovative proof-of-concept study provides an exciting and locally-targeted pathway for a dietary therapeutic option for IBD patients to help limit colonic inflammation and thus susceptibility to colitis-associated colorectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-179
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - Nov 28 2018


  • Curcumin
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Polymer-drug complexes
  • Site specific delivery
  • Solubility & stability
  • Toll-like Receptor-4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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