Development of Solid Lipid Nanoparticles as Dry Powder: Characterization and Formulation Considerations

Molecules. 2023 Feb 5;28(4):1545. doi: 10.3390/molecules28041545.


Solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNs) are lipid-based colloidal systems used for the delivery of active compounds. Although SLNs have many benefits, they show important issues due to physical and chemical instability phenomena during storage. For these reasons, it is highly desirable to have a dried SLN formulation available. Therefore, the aim of the project was to identify suitable methods to obtain a dry powder formulation from an SLN suspension. The nanoparticle suspension was dried using both freeze- and spray-drying techniques. The suitability of these methods in obtaining SLN dry powders was evaluated from the analyses of nanotechnological parameters, system morphology and thermal behavior using differential scanning calorimetry. Results pointed out that both drying techniques, although at different yields, were able to produce an SLN dry powder suitable for pharmaceutical applications. Noteworthily, the freeze-drying of SLNs under optimized conditions led to a dry powder endowed with good reconstitution properties and technological parameters similar to the starting conditions. Moreover, freeze-thaw cycles were carried out as a pretest to study the protective effect of different cryoprotectants (e.g., glucose and mannitol with a concentration ranging from 1% to 10% w/v). Glucose proved to be the most effective in preventing particle growth during freezing, thawing, and freeze-drying processes; in particular, the optimum concentration of glucose was 1% w/v.

Keywords: differential scanning calorimetry; freeze-drying; solid lipid nanoparticles; spray-drying.

MeSH terms

  • Drug Compounding / methods
  • Freeze Drying / methods
  • Nanoparticles* / chemistry
  • Particle Size
  • Powders / chemistry


  • Lipid Nanoparticles
  • Powders

Grants and funding

This research was funded by Research Funding for University of Catania, under Project Piaceri “NanoRET”-“Patologie neurodegenerative retiniche: nuovi approcci farmacologici e nanotecnologici”.