Objective: This study was intended to utilize lecithin-based mixed polymeric micelles (lbMPMs) for enhancing the solubility and bioavailability of honokiol and magnolol to resolve the hindrance of their extreme hydrophobicity on the clinical applications. Methods: Lecithin was selected to increase the volume of the core of lbMPMs, thereby providing a greater solubilization capacity. A series of amphiphilic polymers (sodium deoxycholate [NaDOC], Cremophor®, and Pluronic® series) were included with lecithin for screening and optimization. Results: After preliminary evaluation and subsequentially optimization, two lbMPMs for- mulations composed of honokiol/magnolol:lecithin:NaDOC (lbMPMs[NaDOC]) and hono- kiol/magnolol:lecithin:PP123 (lbMPMs[PP123]) in respective ratios of 6:2:5 and 1:1:10 were optimally obtained with the mean particle sizes of 80-150 nm, encapsulation efficacy (EEs) of >90%, and drug loading (DL) of >9.0%. These lbMPMs efficiently stabilized honokiol/ magnolol in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) at room temperature or 4 °C and in fetal bovine serum or PBS at 37 °C. PK study demonstrated that lbMPMs[NaDOC] showed much improvement in enhancing bioavailability than that by lbMPMs[PP123] for both honokiol and magnolol. The absolute bioavailability for honokiol and magnolol after intravenous administration of lbMPMs[NaDOC] exhibited 0.93- and 3.4-fold increases, respectively, compared to that of free honokiol and magnolol. For oral administration with lbMPMs[NaDOC], the absolute bioavailability of honokiol was 4.8%, and the absolute and relative bioavailability of magnolol were 20.1% and 2.9-fold increase, respectively. Conclusion: Overall, honokiol/magnolol loaded in lbMPMs[NaDOC] showed an improve- ment of solubility with suitable physical characteristics leading to enhance honokiol and magnolol bioavailability and facilitating their wider application as therapeutic agents for treating human disorders.
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