Background and aims: Quercetin is a flavonoid with good antioxidant activity, and exhibits various important pharmacological effects. The aim of the present work was to study the influence of formulation factors on the physicochemical properties of quercetin-loaded polymeric nanoparticles in order to optimize the formulation.

Materials and methods: The nanoparticles were prepared by the nanoprecipitation method. A 3-factor, 3-level Box-Behnken design was employed in this study considering poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) concentration, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) concentration and the stirring speed as independent variables. The responses were particle size, polydispersity index, zeta potential and encapsulation efficiency.

Results: The PLGA concentration seemed to be the most important factor influencing quercetin-nanoparticle characteristics. Increasing PLGA concentration led to an increase in particle size, as well as encapsulation efficiency. On the other hand, it exhibited a negative influence on the polydispersity index and zeta potential. The PVA concentration and the stirring speed had only a slight influence on particle size and polydispersity index. However, PVA concentration had an important negative effect on the encapsulation efficiency. Based on the results obtained, an optimized formulation was prepared, and the experimental values were comparable to the predicted ones.

Conclusions: The overall results indicated that PLGA concentration was the main factor influencing particle size, while entrapment efficiency was predominantly affected by the PVA concentration.


nanoparticle, quercetin, experimental design, Box-Behnken, optimization