Purpose Study on curcumin dissolved in natural deep eutectic solvents (NADES) was aimed at exploiting their beneficial properties as drug carriers. Methods The concentration of dissolved curcumin in NADES was measured. Simulated gastrointestinal fluids were used to determine the concentration of curcumin and quantum chemistry computations were performed for clarifying the origin of curcumin solubility enhancement in NADES. Results NADES comprising choline chloride and glycerol had the highest potential for curcumin dissolution. This system was also successfully applied as an extraction medium for obtaining curcuminoids from natural sources, as well as an effective stabilizer preventing curcumin degradation from sunlight. The solubility of curcumin in simulated gastrointestinal fluids revealed that the significant increase of bioavailability takes place in the small intestinal fluid. Conclusions Suspension of curcumin in NADES offers beneficial properties of this new liquid drug formulation starting from excreting from natural sources, through safe storage and ending on the final administration route. Therefore, there is a possibility of using a one-step process with this medium. The performed quantum chemistry computations clearly indicated the origin of the enhanced solubility of curcumin in NADES in the presence of intestinal fluids. Direct intermolecular contacts leading to hetero-molecular pairs with choline chloride and glycerol are responsible for elevating the bulk concentration of curcumin. Choline chloride plays a dominant role in the system and the complexes formed with curcumin are the most stable among all possible homo- and hetero-molecular pairs that can be found in NADES-curcumin systems.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.