Nanostructured lipid-based liquid crystalline (LLC) systems can display different drug release rates and also be stimuli-responsive, rendering them the potential to serve as ‘on-demand’ drug delivery systems. In this study, a magnetically-responsive cubic phase nanocomposite was engineered by doping iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) into a phytantriol (PHYT)-based lipid that exhibits transformation in nanostructure under external alternating magnetic field (AMF). The effects of IONP surface hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity, size and concentration were determined in dispersed systems, and the effect of hydration state of the system was also assessed. Time-resolved small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) was used to probe the impact of these variables on the transformation of nanostructure with and without the application of AMF. The inclusion of both hydrophobic and hydrophilic IONPs reduced the temperature of the phase transition from the inverted bicontinuous cubic (V2) phase to inverted hexagonal (H2) phase and imparted magnetic-responsiveness to the systems. The size of the IONPs played an important role in governing the phase reversibility of the dispersed systems, while the concentration of the IONPs had more impact on the phase behaviour of the bulk systems. These successfully demonstrated a completely reversible magneto-responsive phase transition in the nanostructured LLC systems through optimising the selection of IONPs.
- Iron oxide nanoparticles
- Lipid-based liquid crystalline
- Nanostructure transformation