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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 467147, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/467147
Research Article

Preparation, Physicochemical Characterization, and Cell Viability Evaluation of Long-Circulating and pH-Sensitive Liposomes Containing Ursolic Acid

1Departamento de Produtos Farmacêuticos, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Avenida Antônio Carlos, 6627, 31270-901 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
2Centro de Microscopia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Avenida Antônio Carlos, 6627, 31270-901 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
3Centro de Desenvolvimento de Tecnologia Nuclear (CDTN)/Comissão Nacional de Energia Nuclear (CNEN), Avenida Antônio Carlos, 6627, 31270-901 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

Received 4 January 2013; Accepted 8 July 2013

Academic Editor: Andrei Surguchov

Copyright © 2013 Sávia Caldeira de Araújo Lopes et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Although several drugs are used clinically, some tumors either do not respond or are resistant to the existing pharmacotherapy, thus justifying the search for new drugs. Ursolic acid (UA) is a triterpene found in different plant species that has been shown to possess significant antitumor activity. However, UA presents a low solubility in aqueous medium, which presents a barrier to its biological applications. In this context, the use of liposomes presents a promising strategy to deliver UA and allow for its intravenous administration. In this work, long-circulating and pH-sensitive liposomes containing UA (SpHL-UA) were developed, and their chemical and physicochemical properties were evaluated. SpHL-UA presented adequate properties, including a mean diameter of 191.1 ± 6.4 nm, a zeta potential of 1.2 ± 1.4 mV, and a UA entrapment of 0.77 ± 0.01 mg/mL. Moreover, this formulation showed a good stability after having been stored for 2 months at 4°C. The viability studies on breast (MDA-MB-231) and prostate (LNCaP) cancer cell lines demonstrated that SpHL-UA treatment significantly inhibited cancer cell proliferation. Therefore, the results of the present work suggest the applicability of SpHL-UA as a new and promising anticancer formulation.