Chitosan-reduced gold nanoparticles: a novel carrier for the preparation of spray-dried liposomes for topical delivery

J Liposome Res. 2011 Dec;21(4):324-32. doi: 10.3109/08982104.2011.575380. Epub 2011 May 31.


Exposure of skin to various chemical and physical agents results in excessive stress to the outermost cell layer of the skin, causing different degenerative effects that can be minimized by using antioxidant formulations. The major challenge, in this regard, is to develop a formulation, which can prevent photodegradation of the actives, thus allowing a significant amount to be deposited at the site. In recent decades, liposomal formulations have been extensively employed to overcome the barrier properties of the skin and photodegradation of actives. In the present study, chitosan-reduced gold nanoparticles were investigated for its potential as a carrier to prepare liposomes by a spray-drying method. Liposomes so obtained were characterized for phospholipid recovery, diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform (DRIFT) spectroscopy, particle size, zeta potential, encapsulation efficiency, and deposition of drug and gold nanoparticles in the rat skin. Further, a liposomal gel formulation was prepared using Carbopol® 980 NF (Noveon Systems, Kochi, India) and evaluated for drug deposition in the skin. Antioxidant activity of vitamin C encapsulated in gold liposomes was determined on a human leukemia (HL-60) cell line. The use of gold nanoparticles as a carrier showed improved phospholipid recovery and thus overcomes the liposome scalability problem. DRIFT spectra confirmed the presence of phospholipid in the formulation. Liposomal gel showed improved drug deposition, as compared to control and marketed preparations. A more interesting contribution of the chitosan-reduced gold nanoparticles was an enhanced antioxidant activity seen in case of the vitamin C-loaded gold liposomal formulation. Liposomal formulation was found to be stable for 3 months at 30°C and 65% relative humidity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / chemistry
  • Chitosan / chemistry*
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry
  • Gold / chemistry*
  • HL-60 Cells
  • Humans
  • Liposomes / administration & dosage*
  • Liposomes / chemistry*
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Particle Size
  • Rats


  • Drug Carriers
  • Liposomes
  • Gold
  • Chitosan
  • Ascorbic Acid