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Cubic And Hexagonal Liquid Crystals As Drug Delivery Systems

Yulin Chen, Ping Ma, Shuangying Gui

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Lipids have been widely used as main constituents in various drug delivery systems, such as liposomes, solid lipid nanoparticles, nanostructured lipid carriers, and lipid-based lyotropic liquid crystals. Among them, lipid-based lyotropic liquid crystals have highly ordered, thermodynamically stable internal nanostructure, thereby offering the potential as a sustained drug release matrix. The intricate nanostructures of the cubic phase and hexagonal phase have been shown to provide diffusion controlled release of active pharmaceutical ingredients with a wide range of molecular weights and polarities. In addition, the biodegradable and biocompatible nature of lipids demonstrates the minimum toxicity and thus they are used for various routes of administration. Therefore, the research on lipid-based lyotropic liquid crystalline phases has attracted a lot of attention in recent years. This review will provide an overview of the lipids used to prepare cubic phase and hexagonal phase at physiological temperature, as well as the influencing factors on the phase transition of liquid crystals. In particular, the most current research progresses on cubic and hexagonal phases as drug delivery systems will be discussed.