Liposomes for Solubilization and Delivery of Curcumin into Leukemia Cells

  • Jang, Rae-Sung (School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Korea University) ;
  • Kim, Eun-Joong (School of Pharmacy, Seoul National University) ;
  • Suh, Min-Sung (School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Korea University) ;
  • Shim, Ga-Yong (School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Korea University) ;
  • Shim, Chang-Koo (School of Pharmacy, Seoul National University) ;
  • Oh, Yu-Kyoung (School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Korea University)
  • Published : 2006.10.21


Curcumin is a phytochemical compound with anticancer activity. Although curcumin has substantial pharmacological effect against various cancers, the low solubility of curcumin has hindered its development. For an organic solvent-free injectable formulation, we encapsulated curcumin in various liposomes. Due to its lipophilic property, curcumin was placed in the membrane region of liposomes. Curcumin was stably encapsulated in all formulations tested in this study. The cellular uptake of curcumin delivered in liposomal formulations or free form was measured in K562 human leukemia cell lines using a flow cytometry and MTT viability assay, respectively. Although all the liposomes could solubilize curcumin, the cellular levels and the anticancer effects of liposomal curcumin varied with the composition of liposomes. Moreover, liposomal curcumin down-regulated the expression of Notch-1, the molecule involved in the carcinogenesis, to the similar extent to free curcumin dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide. These results warrant the development of liposomal curcumin as an injectable formulation for leukemia treatment.


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