Recently nanoparticle-based vaginal drug delivery formulations have been acquiring great attention for the administration of peptide based-vaccines or microbicides to prevent or treat sexually transmitted diseases.
In this work, a straightforward and efficient strategy for the vaginal application and release of peptide-loaded mucoadhesive nanoparticles was developed. This essentially consists of chitosan nanoparticles encapsulated in suitable hydrophilic freeze-dried cylinders. Chitosan nanoparticles are responsible for carrying the peptide drug and allowing adhesion to the vaginal mucosal epithelium. Hydrophilic freeze-dried cylinders facilitate the application and quick release of the nanoparticles to the vaginal zone. Upon contact with the aqueous vaginal medium, the excipients constituting these sponge-like systems are quickly dissolved enabling the release of their content.
In vitro release studies showed the ability of the sponge-like systems and chitosan nanoparticles to deliver the mucoadhesive nanoparticles and peptide respectively. CLSM micrographs proved the nanoparticles ability promoting the peptide penetration inside the vaginal mucosa.