This investigation describes a scaling up study aimed at producing progesterone containing nanoparticles in a pilot scale. Particularly hot homogenization techniques based on ultrasound homogenization or high pressure homogenization have been employed to produce lipid nanoparticles constituted of tristearin or tristearin in association with caprylic-capric triglyceride. It was found that the high pressure homogenization method enabled to obtain nanoparticles without agglomerates and smaller mean diameters with respect to ultrasound homogenization method. X-ray characterization suggested a lamellar structural organization of both type of nanoparticles. Progesterone encapsulation efficiency was almost 100% in the case of high pressure homogenization method. Shelf life study indicated a double fold stability of progesterone when encapsulated in nanoparticles produced by the high pressure homogenization method. Dialysis and Franz cell methods were performed to mimic subcutaneous and skin administration. Nanoparticles constituted of tristearin in mixture with caprylic/capric triglyceride display a slower release of progesterone with respect to nanoparticles constituted of pure tristearin. Franz cell evidenced a higher progesterone skin uptake in the case of pure tristearin nanoparticles. A human in vivo study, based on tape stripping, was conducted to investigate the performance of nanoparticles as progesterone skin delivery systems. Tape stripping results indicated a decrease of progesterone concentration in stratum corneum within six hours, suggesting an interaction between nanoparticle material and skin lipids
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