Tween is a non-ionic surfactant commonly used in drug delivery applications for dispersing hydrophobic drugs. They consist of two different groups: a hydrophilic head group and a hydrophobic alkyl chain. Based on the alkyl chain length, there are different types of Tween surfactants namely, Tween 20, 40, 60, and 80. The differences in the alkyl chain length of surfactants influence the hydrophile-lipophile balance (HLB) value of the surfactant and the entrapment efficiency of drug delivery systems. But the surfactants with higher HLB values such as Tween 20 (HLB=16.7) helps to improve the release rates of hydrophobic drugs to the desired extent.
Tween-20 is a hydrophilic, non-ionic detergent surfactant that is suitable for the isolation of water-soluble membrane proteins. Tween-20 is also known as Polyethylene glycol sorbitan monolaurate, Polysorbate 20, Sorbimacrogol Laurate 300, and Polyoxyethylenesorbitan monolaurate. It is a polysorbate-type nonionic surfactant formed by the ethoxylation of sorbitan before the addition of lauric acid.
Fig.1 The chemical structure of Tween 20 (Polysorbate 20).
A poorly water-soluble anticancer drug, curcumin was loaded into cellulose nanocrystals by dissolving it in a commonly used nonionic surfactant medium. The small dimensions of nanoparticles bring the drug closer to the surface of the nanocellulose particles which results in faster drug release. This will lead to complete drug release during the shorter residence time of the dosage form in the stomach. Therefore, the curcumin/Tween 20 incorporated cellulose nanoparticle system will provide a better platform. The incorporation of drugs and surfactants into the cellulose nanoparticles was verified through the FTIR characterization. The drug loading capacity of nanocellulose increased from 0.1 mg/g to 7.73 mg/g with increasing the surfactant concentration from 0 to 4%. The solubility of curcumin increased up to 2.7 mg/mL in 20% aqueous solution of Tween 20. Among all the nanoparticles, the highest drug release was shown by the nanoparticles drug loaded in surfactant medium (TW/CNC) compared to the nanoparticles drug loaded in methanolic medium (METH/CNC). In conclusion, the enhancement of bioavailability of curcumin using curcumin/nonionic surfactant-incorporated cellulose nanoparticles would represent an important step forward in the nanopharmaceuticals field.
Fig.2 Curcumin/Tween 20-incorporated cellulose nanoparticles with enhanced curcumin solubility for nano-drug delivery. (Ching, 2019)
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