Ascorbyl palmitate/DSPE-PEG nanocarriers for oral iron delivery: Preparation, characterisation and in vitro evaluation

M Gulrez Zariwala, Sebastien Farnaud, Zahra Merchant, Satyanarayana Somavarapu, Derek Renshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to encapsulate iron in nanocarriers formulated with ascorbyl palmitate and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine polyethylene glycol (DSPE-PEG) for oral delivery. Blank and iron (Fe) loaded nanocarriers were prepared by a modified thin film method using ascorbyl palmitate and DSPE-PEG. Surface charge of the nanocarriers was modified by the inclusion of chitosan (CHI) during the formulation process. Blank and iron loaded ascorbyl palmitate/DSPE nanocarriers were visualised by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and physiochemical characterisations of the nanocarriers carried out to determine the mean particle size and zeta potential. Inclusion of chitosan imparted a net positive charge on the nanocarrier surface and also led to an increase in mean particle size. Iron entrapment in ascorbyl palmitate-Fe and ascorbyl palmitate-CHI-Fe nanocarriers was 67% and 76% respectively, suggesting a beneficial effect of chitosan on nanocarrier Fe entrapment. Iron absorption was estimated by measuring Caco-2 cell ferritin formation using ferrous sulphate as a reference standard. Iron absorption from ascorbyl palmitate-Fe (592.17±21.12 ng/mg cell protein) and ascorbyl palmitate-CHI-Fe (800.12±47.6 ng/mg, cell protein) nanocarriers was 1.35-fold and 1.5-fold higher than that from free ferrous sulphate, respectively (505.74±23.73 ng/mg cell protein) (n=6, p<0.05). This study demonstrates for the first time preparation and characterisation of iron loaded ascorbyl palmitate/DSPE PEG nanocarriers, and that engineering of the nanocarriers with chitosan leads to a significant augmentation of iron absorption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-92
Number of pages7
JournalColloids and surfaces. B, Biointerfaces
Early online date23 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Absorption
  • Administration, Oral
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Cell Death
  • Cell Survival
  • Drug Carriers
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Iron
  • Nanoparticles
  • Particle Size
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Static Electricity
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Ascorbyl palmitate
  • Ferrous sulphate
  • Caco-2
  • Chitosan
  • Nanocarriers
  • Fortification


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