Insulin-loaded liposomes packaged in alginate hydrogels promote the oral bioavailability of insulin

Haishan Wu, Jian Nan, Liu Yang, Hyun Jin Park, Jinglei Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Compared to subcutaneous injections, oral administration of insulin would be a preferred route of drug administration for diabetic patients. For oral delivery, both liposomes and alginate hydrogels face many challenges, including early burst release of the encapsulated drug and poor intestinal drug absorption. Also, adhesion to the intestinal mucosa remains weak, which all result in a low bioavailability of the payload. This study reports on an alginate hydrogel loaded with liposomes for oral insulin administration. Liposomes (Lip) loaded with arginine-insulin complexes (AINS) were incorporated into a hydrogel prepared from cysteine modified alginate (Cys-Alg) to form liposome-in-alginate hydrogels (AINS-Lip-Gel). An ex vivo study proves that intestinal permeation of AINS and AINS-Lip is approximately 2.0 and 6.0-fold, respectively, higher than that of free insulin. The hydrogel retarded early release of insulin (∼30%) from the liposomes and enhanced the intestinal mucosal retention. In vivo experiments revealed that the AINS-Lip-Gel released insulin in a controlled manner and possessed strong hypoglycemic effects. We conclude that liposome-in-alginate hydrogels loaded with AINS represent an attractive strategy for the oral delivery of insulin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-62
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan


  • Alginate
  • Cysteine
  • Insulin
  • Intestinal absorption
  • Oral administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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