Comparison of the physical characteristics of monodisperse non-ionic surfactant vesicles (NISV) prepared using different manufacturing methods

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Non-ionic surfactant vesicles (NISV) are synthetic membrane vesicles formed by self-assembly of a non-ionic surfactant, often in a mixture with cholesterol and a charged chemical species. Different methods can be used to manufacture NISV, with the majority of these requiring bulk mixing of two phases. This mixing process is time-consuming and leads to the preparation of large and highly dispersed vesicles, which affects the consistency of the final product and could hinder subsequent regulatory approval. In this study, we have compared the physical characteristics of NISV prepared using two conventional methods (thin-film hydration method and heating method) with a recently introduced microfluidic method. The resulting particles from these methods were assessed for their physical characteristics and in vitro cytotoxicity. Through microfluidics, nano-sized NISV were prepared in seconds, through rapid and controlled mixing of two miscible phases (lipids dissolved in alcohol and an aqueous medium) in a microchannel, without the need of a size reduction step, as required for the conventional methods. Stability studies over two months showed the particles were stable regardless of the method of preparation and there were no differences in terms of EC50 on A375 and A2780 cell lines. However, this work demonstrates the flexibility and ease of applying lab-on-chip microfluidics for the preparation of NISV that could be used to significantly improve formulation research and development, by enabling the rapid manufacture of a consistent end-product, under controlled conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Early online date3 Feb 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Feb 2017


  • non-ionic surfactant vesicles
  • microfluidics
  • thin-film hydration
  • heating method
  • drug delivery
  • cytotoxicity

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