A self-assembled supramolecular natural product gel from liquidambaric acid in traditional Chinese medicine with inherent anti-inflammatory activity for drug delivery
Self-assembled supramolecular gels as a soft material have received extensive attention due to their excellent physicochemical properties such as variability, multiple responsiveness and appropriate viscoelasticity. At present, many self-assembled gels with physicochemical functions are constructed as drug delivery systems and used for the treatment of diseases. However, self-assembled gel drug delivery systems having pharmacological functions remain almost unexplored. Here, we present an anti-inflammatory pharmacologically active gel drug delivery system consisting of direct self-assembled small molecule naturally-occurring compounds (self-assembled small molecule natural products, SSNPs) derived from traditional Chinese medicine. The system not only exhibits excellent thixotropy, good topical safety and sustained release, but also achieves superior inflammatory therapeutic effects both in vivo and in vitro. Compared to non-pharmacologically active drug delivery systems, this system can increase the in vivo anti-inflammatory activity of drugs by nearly two-thirds. More importantly, its therapeutic effect even reached 141.54% of OTC drugs. The successful construction of an anti-inflammatory pharmacologically active gel drug delivery system not only makes full use of the self-assembly properties and biological activity of natural products, but also provides an important reference for the development of pharmacologically active drug delivery systems using SSNPs in the future.