Protective effect of guarana-loaded liposomes on hemolytic activity

Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2020 Mar;187:110636. doi: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2019.110636. Epub 2019 Nov 11.


Paullinia cupana var. sorbilis (Mart.) Ducke, popularly known as guarana, is one of the most promising plants in Brazilian flora and has attracted considerable interest from the scientific community owing to its numerous therapeutic activities and less side effects. Hence, using nanotechnology is a viable alternative to primarily improve the physicochemical characteristics and bioavailability of guarana. The objective of the present study was to develop, characterize, and evaluate the stability of liposomes containing guarana powder and to evaluate their antioxidant and hemolytic activity in vitro. Three different concentrations of guarana powder and two methods of liposome preparation were tested. Liposomes were developed and characterized, and their stability was analyzed by evaluating physicochemical parameters. Hemolytic activity of guarana liposomal formulation (G-Lip) was compared with that of guarana in its free form (FG) and of liposome without guarana (W-Lip). Red blood cells from rats were exposed to these different formulations dissolved in phosphate buffer solution (PBS; pH 7.4). The best stability was achieved for the formulation containing 1 mg mL-1 guarana powder produced by the reverse phase evaporation method. FG showed dose-dependent antioxidant activity, which was maintained in G-Lip. W-Lip showed high hemolytic activity in PBS at pH 7.4 possibly because of the presence of polysorbate 80, and on addition of guarana to these structures, the hemolytic process was reversed. The same protective effect was observed for FG. It is believed that the complex structure of guarana, primarily the presence of polyphenols, exerts a powerful antioxidant action, helping to protect erythrocytes.

Keywords: Methylxanthines; Nanoparticle; Paullinia cupana; Polyphenols.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Drug Compounding
  • Hemolysis / drug effects*
  • Liposomes / chemistry*
  • Liposomes / ultrastructure
  • Particle Size
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Theobromine / pharmacology*
  • Theophylline / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Liposomes
  • Protective Agents
  • guarana powder
  • Caffeine
  • Theophylline
  • Theobromine