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Nano carriers enhance skin penetration and antioxidant effect of CoQ10

By Katie Bird , 08-Apr-2010

Using a nano-lipid carrier to deliver the antioxidant CoQ10 can significantly enhance its topical skin delivery and protective effect on the skin, according to recent research.

Scientists in China looked at the ability of the coenzyme to protect fibroblasts from UVA damage, and compared the behavior of CoQ10 in an emulsion to that of CoQ10 that had been nanoencapsulated.

Powerful antioxidant qualities

CoQ10 is synthesized in humans but our capacity to make it decreases with age, and rapidly drops after we pass the age of 40.

It is known to have powerful antioxidant effects, and it is the coenzyme’s potential to protect the skin against the UVA-mediated oxidative stress that led the researchers to investigate different delivery mechanisms of the ingredient.

According to the authors, led by Yang Yue at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, nano-structure lipid carriers are becoming increasing popular as delivery systems as they have high substance solubility, powerful skin penetration and low skin irritation.

In this case, a soybean lecithin was chosen to be the lipid carrier, for its good biocompatibility, its non-irritating nature on the skin, and the balance between hydrophilic (water loving) and lipophilic (lipid loving) properties.

The ability of the CoQ10 to protect against the damage caused by UVA was tested in vitro on human embryo skin fibroblasts.

According to the study, the nanoencapsulated CoQ10 (CoQ10-NLC) had a stronger antioxidative capacity than the CoQ10 in the emulsion form. An MTT assay was used to measure cell viability and after UVA radiation the fibroblasts that had been treated with CoQ10 NLC had a higher cell viability than those that had received the emulsion treatment.

Improved skin penetration

In addition, the team tested the penetration of the coenzyme in vivo using rat skin.

The skin penetration capability of the nanoencapsulated form of the coenzyme was significantly higher than the emulsion form, which the scientists put down to the soybean lecithin nano carrier.

Soybean lecithin’s ability to bind to lipid cell membranes and to enhance the permeability of these membranes, helped enhance the skin penetration of the ingredient, the researchers argued.

“Because the CoQ10 – NLC displayed such powerful antioxidative ability compared to the general CoQ10 emulsion…the NLC formulation is considered to be the key to the efficient delivery of CoQ10,” they concluded in the study.

The scientists also suggested that further research could investigate the effects of enfolding two or more factors within the nano carrier – for example CoQ10 and vitamin E.

Source: International Journal of Pharmaceutics
2010, doi:10.1016/j.ijpharm.2010.03.032

The advantages of a novel CoQ10 delivery system in skin photo-protection
Yang Yue, Huafeng Zhou, Guanlan Liu, Yan Li, Zemin Yan, Mingxing Duan