Surfactant effects on lipid-based vesicles properties

Ruba Bnyan, Iftikhar Khan, Touraj Ehtezazi, Imran Y Saleem, Sarah Gordon, Francis O'Neill, Matthew J. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the effect of surfactant properties is critical when designing vesicular delivery systems. This review evaluates previous studies to explain the influence of surfactant properties on the behavior of lipid vesicular systems, specifically their size, charge, stability, entrapment efficiency, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics. Generally, the size of vesicles decreases by increasing the surfactant concentration, carbon chain length, the hydrophilicity of the surfactant head group, and the hydrophilic-lipophilic balance. Increasing surfactant concentration can also lead to an increase in charge, which in turn reduces vesicle aggregation and enhances the stability of the system. The vesicles' entrapment efficiency not only depends on the surfactant properties but also on the encapsulated drug. For example, the encapsulation of a lipophilic drug could be enhanced by using a surfactant with a low hydrophilic-lipophilic balance value. Moreover, the membrane permeability of vesicles depends on the surfactant's carbon chain length and transition temperature. In addition, surfactants have a clear influence on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics such as sustaining drug release, enhancing the circulation time of vesicles, improving targeting and cellular uptake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1237-1246
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number5
Early online date11 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Ruba Bnyan thanks Liverpool John Moores University for funding her PhD program and would like to acknowledge the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA) for their continuous support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Pharmacists Association®


  • entrapment efficiency
  • hydrophilic-lipophilic balance
  • lipid-based vesicles
  • liposome
  • stability
  • surfactant
  • transfersome
  • zeta potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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