Nano Research

Article Title

Curcumin-loaded polymeric nanoparticles for neuroprotection in neonatal rats with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy


drug delivery, neuroprotection, brain penetrating, neonatal hypoxia-ischemia, curcumin, nanotherapeutics


ABSTRACT Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is the leading cause of permanent brain injury in term newborns and currently has no cure. Inflammatory processes play a key role in the progression of this disease and may be amenable to a targeted pharmaceutical intervention. Curcumin is a dietary compound with potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiapoptotic properties but is limited in therapeutic applications due to its low aqueous solubility, low bioavailability, and rapid first-pass hepatic metabolism. To address these limitations, loading curcumin into poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)-poly(ethylene glycol) (PLGA-PEG) nanoparticles may increase relevant pharmacokinetic parameters and allow for effective drug delivery to the brain. Using the Vannucci model of unilateral hypoxic-ischemic brain injury in neonatal rats, we studied the in vivo effect of curcumin-loaded PLGA-PEG nanoparticles on brain uptake and diffusion of curcumin and on neuroprotection. The curcumin- loaded nanoparticles were able to overcome the impaired blood–brain barrier, diffuse effectively through the brain parenchyma, localize in regions of injury, and deliver a protective effect in the injured neonatal brain. The application of curcumin and PLGA-PEG nanoparticle-mediated delivery to a clinically relevant model of neonatal brain injury provides greater opportunities for clinical translation of targeted therapies for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press