Curcumin nanodisks: formulation and characterization

Nanomedicine. 2011 Apr;7(2):162-7. doi: 10.1016/j.nano.2010.08.002. Epub 2010 Oct 1.


Nanodisks (NDs) are nanoscale, disk-shaped phospholipid bilayers whose edge is stabilized by apolipoproteins. In the present study, NDs were formulated with the bioactive polyphenol curcumin at a 6:1 phospholipid-to-curcumin molar ratio. Atomic force microscopy revealed that curcumin-NDs are particles with diameters <50 nm and the thickness of a phospholipid bilayer. When formulated in NDs, curcumin is water soluble and gives rise to a characteristic absorbance spectrum with a peak centered at 420 nm. Fluorescence spectroscopy of curcumin-NDs provided evidence of self-quenching. Incubation of curcumin-NDs with empty NDs relieved the self-quenching, indicating redistribution of curcumin between curcumin-loaded and empty NDs. In HepG2 cells, curcumin-NDs mediated enhanced cell growth inhibition as compared with free curcumin. In a cell culture model of mantle cell lymphoma, curcumin-NDs were a more potent inducer of apoptosis than free curcumin. The nanoscale size of the complexes, combined with their ability to solubilize curcumin, indicates NDs may have in vivo therapeutic applications.

From the clinical editor: Nanodisks (NDs), disk-shaped phospholipid bilayers stabilized by apolipoproteins, are shown entrap curcumin and improve its delivery to HepG2 and mantle cell lymphoma cells in culture. These novel nanocomplexes demonstrate interesting therapeutic application potentials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage*
  • Curcumin / chemistry
  • Curcumin / pharmacology
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry*
  • Drug Carriers / pharmacology
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Drug Carriers
  • Curcumin