Preclinical evaluation of tacrolimus colloidal dispersion for inhalation

Alan B. Watts, Jay I. Peters, Robert L. Talbert, Kevin P. O'Donnell, Jacqueline J. Coalson, Robert O. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Substantial improvements in transplant therapy have been made in the past four decades resulting in the acceptance of organ transplantation as a viable treatment for late-stage disease and organ failure. More recently, lung transplantation has gained acceptance; however, high incidence of chronic rejection and opportunistic infections has limited success rates in comparison with other transplant procedures. To achieve more targeted therapy, pulmonary administration of nebulized tacrolimus (TAC) colloidal dispersion once daily for 28 consecutive days in Sprague Dawley (SD) rats has been investigated for safety and systemic elimination. A liquid dispersion of colloidal TAC and lactose (1:1 ratio by weight) was aerosolized using a vibrating mesh nebulizer and administered via a nose-only dosing chamber. Blood chemistry and histological comparisons to saline-dosed animals showed no clinically significant differences in liver and kidney function or lung tissue damage. Maximum blood and lung concentrations sampled 1 h after the final dose showed TAC concentrations of 10.1 ± 1.4 ng/mL and 1758.7 ± 80.0 ng/g, respectively. Twenty-four hours after the final dose, systemic TAC concentrations measured 1.0 ± 0.5 ng/mL, which is well below clinically accepted trough concentrations (5-15 ng/mL) for maintenance therapy, and therefore, would not be expected to induce toxic side effects. The propensity for pulmonary retention seen when compared to single dose lung levels may be due to macrophage uptake and the lipophilic nature of TAC. Additionally, three month stability testing of TAC powder for reconstitution showed no changes in amorphous nature or drug potency when stored at ambient conditions. TAC colloidal dispersion proved to be non-toxic when administered by pulmonary inhalation to SD rats over 28 days while providing therapeutic concentrations locally. This delivery strategy may prove safe and effective for the prevention of lung allograft rejection in lung transplant recipients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-215
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Amorphous
  • Colloidal
  • Inhalation
  • Preclinical
  • Safety
  • Tacrolimus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Preclinical evaluation of tacrolimus colloidal dispersion for inhalation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this