Glycyrrhizin micellar nanocarriers for topical delivery of baicalin to the hair follicles: A targeted approach tailored for alopecia treatment

Quanfu Zeng, Zhuxian Wang, Zhaoming Zhu, Yi Hu, Yuan Wang, Yaqi Xue, Yufan Wu, Yinglin Guo, Peiyi Liang, Hongkai Chen, Zeying Zheng, Chunyan Shen, Cuiping Jiang, Hongxia Zhu, Qun Shen, Yankui Yi, Hui Li, Zhijun Yang, Li Liu*, Qiang Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Alopecia affected approximately 16.6% of all people in China, however, treatment options remain limited due to the side effects. Plant bioactive compound baicalin (BC) possesses hair growth-promotion activity, but poor water solubility and unsuitable log P value restrict its topical application, and natural Glycyrrhizin (GL) can exactly overcome these drawbacks. Here, BC was encapsulated in GL to form GL-BC micelles for alopecia treatment. Simultaneously, tween 80 (TW) as carriers was incorporated in the GL-BC to form GL-TW-BC micelles. The topical penetration, penetration pathways, cellular uptake and the underlying mechanisms behind the hair loss reconstruction of the GL micelles were investigated. We found the optimal GL-BC and GL-TW-BC formulations significantly improved the penetration and accumulation of BC in the porcine skin predominantly through the hair follicles pathways without causing skin irritation, which resulted in a targeted treatment. The proliferation of human dermal papilla cells (hDPCs) and effective cellular uptake was also enhanced. Moreover, the activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, up-expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) and interleukin-10 (IL-10) were the mechanisms of micelles for the hair recovery. Interestingly, GL and BC exhibited a synergistic treatment of alopecia. Collectively, GL-BC and GL-TW-BC can be used as promising approaches for the treatment of alopecia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122109
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Alopecia
  • Baicalin
  • Glycyrrhizin micelles
  • Hair follicles
  • Wnt/β-catenin pathway


Dive into the research topics of 'Glycyrrhizin micellar nanocarriers for topical delivery of baicalin to the hair follicles: A targeted approach tailored for alopecia treatment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this