Current efforts on inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) treatment are focused on strategies for localised drug delivery at the intestinal mucosa. Despite the potential of curcumin (CC) for IBD treatment, its low solubility and stability limit its application. Thus, the design of nanocarriers that focus CC delivery at the intestinal epithelium is an area of interest. This work proposes α-tocopherol nanoemulsions (NE) stabilised by ascorbyl-2,6-dipalmitate (ADP) as intestinal CC-carriers. The antioxidant capacity of α-tocopherol and ADP could have a synergistic effect on IBD-affected tissues, characterised by an oxidative environment. We obtained nanoemulsions (NE-ADP) with size below 200 nm, negative surface charge, stable in gastrointestinal media and no toxic in the Caco-2 cell model. Intracellular retention of NE-ADP in Caco-2 cells was observed by confocal microscopy. The extremely low P values obtained for CC and α-tocopherol indicated the lack of transport across the Caco-2 monolayer. Control nanoemulsion stabilised by lecithin (NE-L) was greatly transported across the Caco-2 cells monolayer, confirming the relevance of ADP on the cellular retention of NE-ADP. The therapeutic potential of NE-ADP was shown by the significant decrease of intracellular ROS levels. Altogether, these results indicate the potential of NE-ADP as a novel approach for the treatment of IBD.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.

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