Multifunctional ionic hydrogel based transdermal delivery of 5-fluorouracil for the breast cancer treatment

Pansuriya, Raviraj and Patel, Tapas and Kumar, Sugam and Aswal, Vinod K and Raje, Naina and Hoskins, Clare and Kumar Kailasa, Suresh and Malek, Naved I (2024) Multifunctional ionic hydrogel based transdermal delivery of 5-fluorouracil for the breast cancer treatment. ACS Applied Bio Materials, 7 (5). 3110–3123. ISSN 2576-6422 (

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Transdermal drug delivery systems (TDDS) are a promising and innovative approach for breast cancer treatment, offering advantages such as noninvasiveness, potential for localized and prolonged drug delivery while minimizing systemic side effects through avoiding first-pass metabolism. Utilizing the distinctive characteristics of hydrogels, such as their biocompatibility, versatility, and higher drug loading capabilities, in the present work, we prepared ionic hydrogels through synergistic interaction between ionic liquids (ILs), choline alanine ([Cho][Ala]), and choline proline ([Cho][Pro]) with oleic acid (OA). ILs used in the study are biocompatible and enhance the solubility of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), whereas OA is a known chemical penetration enhancer. The concentration-dependent (OA) change in morphological aggregates, that is, from cylindrical micelles to worm-like micelles to hydrogels was formed with both ILs and was characterized by SANS measurement, whereas the interactions involved were confirmed by FTIR spectroscopy. The hydrogels have excellent mechanical properties, which studied by rheology and their morphology through FE-SEM analysis. The in vitro skin permeation study revealed that both hydrogels penetrated 255 times ([Cho][Ala]) and 250 times ([Cho][Pro]) more as compared to PBS after 48 h. Those ionic hydrogels exhibited the capability to change the lipid and keratin arrangements within the skin layer, thereby enhancing the transdermal permeation of the 5-FU. Both ionic hydrogels exhibit excellent biocompatibility with normal cell lines (L-132 cells) as well as cancerous cell lines (MCF-7 cells), demonstrating over 92% cell viability after 48 h in both cell lines. In vitro, the cytotoxicity of the 5-FU-loaded hydrogels was evaluated on MCF-7 and HeLa cell lines. These results indicate that the investigated biocompatible and nontoxic ionic hydrogels enable the transdermal delivery of hydrophilic drugs, making them a viable option for effectively treating breast cancer.