Research Highlight

Honey, I shrunk the antioxidants!

Subhra Priyadarshini

doi:10.1038/nindia.2008.134 Published online 7 March 2008

Microscopic image of the NanoCAPs

A new therapy that uses two antioxidants shrunk together by employing nanotechnology could effectively prevent the nagging problem of organ damage in diabetics.

Researchers from Mohali-based National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research in Punjab have found that ideal candidates for such a therapy are biodegradable nano-co-encapsulated antioxidant particles (NanoCAPs) of ellagic acid (EA) and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).

Working on diabetic rats, they found that the synergistic combination of the two antioxidants EA and CoQ10 showed promise in altering the plasma lipid profile and in preventing organ damage.

"Significantly lower dose of EA and CoQ10 in NanoCAPs showed equal or better results in comparison to a simple suspension suggesting that the application of nanotechnology could be very effective in drug delivery," says lead researcher Majeti Naga Venkata Ravi Kumar.

Besides disrupted metabolism due to poor control on blood glucose levels, diabetes causes degenerative changes in the heart, kidney, eyes and nerves. Overall life expectancy for patients with diabetes is 7-10 years shorter than for healthy people. These complications are caused by oxidative stress which is why the existing therapies only delay or reduce their occurrence but cannot completely prevent or reverse them.

"Antioxidant therapy is one promising alternative to assuage these complications. However, the poor biopharmaceutical property of many antioxidants does limit their effective use. The new therapeutic strategy could overcome that problem," Ravi Kumar, presently a Professor of Drug Delivery at University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK, says.

A statistically significant increase was also observed in the plasma insulin levels of the rats. The finding points towards the potential use of NanoCAPs of EA and CoQ10 in diabetes and in reducing the associated complications.


  1. Ratnam, D. V. et al. A Potential Therapeutic Strategy for Diabetes and Its Complications in the Form of Co-Encapsulated Antioxidant Nanoparticles (NanoCAPs) of Ellagic Acid and Coenzyme Q10: Preparation and Evaluation in Streptozotocin Induced Diabetic Rats. J. Biomed. Nanotechnol. 4, 33-43 (2008)