Topical tacrolimus nanocapsules eye drops for therapeutic effect enhancement in both anterior and posterior ocular inflammation models

Leslie Rebibo, Connie Tam, Yan Sun, Eve Shoshani, Amit Badihi, Taher Nassar, Simon Benita*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Tacrolimus has shown efficacy in eye inflammatory diseases. However, due to the drug lability, its formulation into a stable ophthalmic product remains a challenge. Tacrolimus-loaded nanocapsules (NCs) were designed for ocular instillation. Further, the stability and effects of the formulation were analyzed under different experimental conditions. Physicochemical characterization of the NCs revealed suitable homogeneous size and high encapsulation efficiency. Moreover, the lyophilized formulation was stable at ICH long term and accelerated storage conditions, for at least 18 and 3 months, respectively. The tacrolimus NCs did not elicit any eye irritation in rabbits after single- and multiple-dose applications. Additionally, ex vivo penetration assays on isolated porcine cornea and pharmacokinetics analyses in various rabbit eye compartments demonstrated the superiority of the NCs in retention and permeation into the anterior chamber of the eye compared to the free drug dissolved in oil. Moreover, multiple dose ocular instillation of the NCs in rats allowed high tacrolimus levels in the eye with very low plasma concentrations. Finally, the developed delivery system achieved a significant decrease in four typical inflammatory markers in a murine model of keratitis, an anterior chamber inflammation. Furthermore, these NCs, applied as eye drops, displayed clinical and histological efficacy in the mainly posterior chamber inflammation model of murine, experimental auto-immune uveitis.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)283-297
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - 10 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Dr. Marina Frusic-Zlotkin, Dr. Yoram Soroka and Sajeda Dandes for their technical assistance. This work was partly supported by the National Institute of Health/National Eye Institute [grant R01EY030577 to C.T.].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Auto-immune uveitis
  • Keratitis
  • Nanocapsules
  • Ocular delivery
  • Tacrolimus


Dive into the research topics of 'Topical tacrolimus nanocapsules eye drops for therapeutic effect enhancement in both anterior and posterior ocular inflammation models'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this