Depolymerized chitosan nanoparticles for protein delivery: Preparation and characterization

Authors

  • K. A. Janes,

    1. Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology, School of Pharmacy, The University of Santiago de Compostela, 15706 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
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  • M. J. Alonso

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology, School of Pharmacy, The University of Santiago de Compostela, 15706 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
    • Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology, School of Pharmacy, The University of Santiago de Compostela, 15706 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
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Abstract

In this article we describe our preliminary work involving the use of depolymerized, low molecular weight chitosan nanoparticles as carriers for proteins and peptides. We hypothesized that the molecular weight of chitosan could favorably modulate the particle and protein release characteristics for the delivery of certain bioactive macromolecules. Our primary objectives were to develop nanoparticle formulations that were stable and reproducible across a range of chitosan molecular weights and then characterize the physicochemical and in vitro release properties as functions of the polymer size. Using depolymerized fragments generated by NaNO2 degradation of different chitosan salts, we prepared nanoparticle formulations based on ionotropic gelation with sodium tripolyphosphate (TPP). Regardless of the formulation, the nanoparticle size decreased with decreasing molecular weight and the ζ-potential values remained unchanged. Similar comparisons were made with the encapsulation of insulin and tetanus toxoid as model proteins. The results indicated that the quantity of TPP in a given formulation has a greater effect on the protein encapsulation than the chitosan molecular weight. In fast release environments (i.e., buffered media), there was no significant molecular weight effect that could be discerned. These data lead to the conclusion that, under these experimental conditions, the chitosan molecular weight has a measurable effect on the particle properties, although this effect is modest relative to other formulation parameters (e.g., TPP content, type of protein loaded). Because these subtle differences could have dramatic effects physiologically, work is currently underway to elucidate the possible applications of depolymerized chitosans for peptide delivery in vivo. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 12: 2769–2776, 2003

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