Intranasal delivery of liposomal indole-3-carbinol improves its pulmonary bioavailability

Jung Min Song, Ameya R. Kirtane, Pramod Upadhyaya, Xuemin Qian, Silvia Balbo, Fitsum Teferi, Jayanth Panyam, Fekadu Kassie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a constituent of commonly consumed Brassica vegetables, has been shown to have anticancer effects in a variety of preclinical models of lung cancer. However, it has shown only limited efficacy in clinical trials, likely due to its poor oral bioavailability. Intranasal administration of I3C has the potential to enhance the pulmonary accumulation of the drug, thereby improving its availability at the target site of action. In this study, we developed a liposomal formulation of I3C and evaluated its lung delivery and chemopreventive potential in tobacco smoke carcinogen [4-(methylnitro-samino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK)]-treated mice. Intranasal administration of I3C liposomes led to a ∼100-fold higher lung exposure of I3C than the oral route of administration. Further, intranasal delivery of liposomal I3C led to a significant reduction (37%; p < 0.05) in the levels of the DNA adduct formation induced by NNK treatment. Liposomal I3C also significantly increased (by 10-fold) the expression of CYP1A1, a cytochrome P450 enzyme known to increase the detoxification of chemical carcinogens by enhancing their metabolism. Overall, our findings demonstrate that intranasal administration of liposomal I3C has the potential to significantly improve the efficacy of I3C for lung cancer chemoprevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-101
Number of pages6
JournalInternational journal of pharmaceutics
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 30 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Bob Carlson for his help in formatting the manuscript. This study was funded by NIH/NCI grant RO1CA-128801to F.K.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • 4-(Methylnitro-samino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1- butanone
  • Cytochrome P450 1A1
  • DNA adduct
  • Indole-3-carbinol
  • Liposomes
  • O-Methylguanine DNA adduct


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