Transmucosal Delivery of Nicotine in Combination with Tincture of Benzoin Inhibits Apoptosis

Alex Battaglia, Thanh Nguyen

Background and Objective – The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that tincture of benzoin (TOB) facilitates immediate transmucosal nicotine absorption while simultaneously promoting a safe and sustained delivery of the nicotine. Methods – In combination with TOB, nicotine toxicity and diffusion across human mucosal cells were measured using a 3-D human mucosal tissue model. Results – Nicotine was delivered 2.1 times more quickly in combination with TOB than in combination with saline (p\0.05). Despite the increased diffusion, nicotine in combination with TOB significantly increased mucosal cell survival (p\0.05) by reducing the release of mitochondrial cytochrome c into the cytoplasm when compared with nicotine without TOB. The average percentage distribution of cytochrome c in the cytosolic fraction over time of nicotine ? 79% ethyl alcohol (ETOH) versus nicotine plus TOB (79% ETOH) was significantly different over 120 min (60.0 ± 29.9% cytosol, 16.1 ± 9.4% cytosol, p = 0.03). Related to the reduction of cytochrome c release into the cytoplasm, TOB suppressed caspase-3 and -9 activity, thereby preventing intrinsic apoptosis and providing cytoprotection of the mucosal cells (ETOH ? nicotine vs ETOH ? nicotine ? TOB: p = 0.008 for caspase 3, p\0.001 for caspase 9). Conclusion -Two hours of TOB (17–24% benzoin, 79% ETOH) plus nicotine promotes diffusion of nicotine across human mucosal cells and simultaneously prevents human mucosal cell toxicity by inhibiting cytochrome c release into the cytosol, thereby preventing caspase 3 and 9 activity and subsequent intrinsic apoptosis.


EpiOral (ORL-200), transmucosal delivery, caspase 3, caspase 9, cytochrome C, caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK, nicotine replacement therapy, apoptosis

Materials Tested

nicotine, tincture of benzoin, ethanol, Z-VAD-FMK

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