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Papers of the Week

2021 Jul 26

Int J Pharm

Prolonged anesthesia and decreased toxicity of enantiomeric-excess Bupivacaine loaded in Ionic gradient liposomes.


Freitas de Lima F, Brandão da Silva B, Oliveira J D, de Moura L D, Rodrigues da Silva G H, Cordeiro Lima Fernandes P, Isaias Carvalho Souza R, Carvalho Dos Santos A, Paula E D
Int J Pharm. 2021 Jul 26:120944.
PMID: 34324985.


Bupivacaine is the most employed local anesthetic in surgical procedures, worldwide. Its systemic toxicity has directed the synthesis of the less toxic, S(-) enantiomer. This work describes a formulation of ionic gradient liposomes (IGL) containing BVC, an enantiomeric excess mixture of 75% S(-) and 25% R(+) bupivacaine. IGL prepared with 250 mM (NH)SO in the inner aqueous core of phosphatidylcholine and cholesterol (3:2 mol%) vesicles plus 0.5% BVC showed average sizes of 312.5 ± 4.5 nm, low polydispersity (PDI < 0.18), negative zeta potentials (- 14.2 ± 0.2 mV) and were stable for 360 days. The encapsulation efficiency achieved with IGL (%EE = 38.6%) was higher than with IGL prepared with racemic bupivacaine (IGL, %EE = 28.3%). TEM images revealed spherical vesicles and µDSC analysis provided evidence on the interaction of the anesthetic with the lipid bilayer. Then, in vitro – release kinetics and cytotoxicity- and in vivo – toxic effects in Zebrafish and biochemical/histopathological analysis plus analgesia in Wistar rats – tests were performed. IGL exhibited negligible toxicity against Schwann cells and Zebrafish larvae, and it did not affect biochemical markers or the morphology of rat tissues (heart, brain, cerebellum, sciatic nerve). The in vitro release of BVC from IGL was extended from 4 to 24 h, justifying the prolonged anesthetic effect measured in rats (∼ 9 h). The advantages of IGL formulation over IGL and plain bupivacaine formulations (prolonged anesthesia, preferential sensorial blockade, and no toxicity) confirm its potential for clinical use in surgical anesthesia.