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Drug Deliv. 2004 Mar-Apr;11(2):107-12.

Chitosan nanoparticles for plasmid DNA delivery: effect of chitosan molecular structure on formulation and release characteristics.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey.


Chitosan can be useful as a nonviral vector for gene delivery. Although there are several reports to form chitosan-pDNA particles, the optimization and effect on transfection remain insufficient. The chitosan-pDNA nanoparticles were formulated using complex coacervation and solvent evaporation techniques. The important parameters for the encapsulation efficiency were investigated, including molecular weight and deacetylation degree of chitosan. We found that encapsulation efficiency of pDNA is directly proportional with deacetylation degree, but there is an inverse proportion with molecular weight of chitosan. DNA-nanoparticles in the size range of 450-820 nm depend on the formulation process. The surface charge of the nanoparticles prepared with complex coacervation method was slightly positive with a zeta potential of +9 to +18 mV; nevertheless, nanoparticles prepared with solvent evaporation method had a zeta potential approximately +30 mV. The pDNA-chitosan nanoparticles prepared by using high deacetylation degree chitosan having 92.7%, 98.0%, and 90.4% encapsulation efficiency protect the encapsulated pDNA from nuclease degradation as shown by electrophoretic mobility analysis. The release of pDNA from the formulation prepared by complex coacervation was completed in 24 hr whereas the formulation prepared by evaporation technique released pDNA in 96 hr, but these release profiles are not statistically significant compared with formulations with similar structure (p > .05). According to the results, we suggest nanoparticles have the potential to be used as a transfer vector in further studies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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