Triterpenoid-Containing Liposome by Micelle-to-Vesicle Transition and Their Biological Activities

  • Published : 2003.09.01


Ursolic acid (UA) and oleanolic acid (OA) are pentacyclic triterpenoids which are widely distributed in plants, and their derivatives are aglycones of many naturally occurring saponins. It is known that pentacyclic acids may possibly enhance the mechanical barrier functions of cell membranes in plants. Recently, it has been reported that OA and UA have interesting biological activities on skin, such as anti-inflammatory and anti-wrinkle activities. Since triterpenoids are extremely insoluble and their solubility problem limits skin-care application, OA and UA were encapsulated in liposomes via micelle-to-vesicle transition to overcome poorly soluble property and enhance biological efficacy. Optimal molar ratio of OA to lecithin was found to exist for producing liposomes of small hydrodynamic size and liposomal suspensions without recrystallized precipitation of OA. From electron micrograph and dynamic light scattering studies, reconstituted OA-containing liposomes without severe mechanical treatment showed small hydrodynamic size about 150 nm. Wide-angle X-ray diffraction coupled with dynamic light scattering revealed that optimal amount of OA in liposome was 25.4 mole %. In biological evaluation, OA-containing liposome significantly increased filaggrin and transglutaminase as markers of keratinocyte differentiation in epidermal layer of hairless mouse, whereas ursolic acid-containing liposome did not show noticeable increase of filaggrin and transglutaminase compared to empty liposome. It is concluded that nano-scaled liposomes containing triterpenoids were spontaneously prepared by vesicular transition from mixed micelle and liposomal triterpenoids can enhance skin absorption of triterpenoid and biological efficacy.