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J Control Release. 2006 Mar 10;111(1-2):107-16. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

Preparation and characterization of protein-loaded N-trimethyl chitosan nanoparticles as nasal delivery system.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Leiden/Amsterdam Center for Drug Research (LACDR), Leiden University, P.O. Box 9502, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands.


In this study, the potential of N-trimethyl chitosan (TMC) nanoparticles as a carrier system for the nasal delivery of proteins was investigated. TMC nanoparticles were prepared by ionic crosslinking of TMC solution (with or without ovalbumin) with tripolyphosphate, at ambient temperature while stirring. The size, zeta-potential and morphology of the nanoparticles were investigated as a function of the preparation conditions. Protein loading, protein integrity and protein release were studied. The toxicity of the TMC nanoparticles was tested by ciliary beat frequency measurements of chicken embryo trachea and in vitro cytotoxicity assays. The in vivo uptake of FITC-albumin-loaded TMC nanoparticles by nasal epithelia tissue in rats was studied by confocal laser scanning microscopy. The nanoparticles had an average size of about 350 nm and a positive zeta-potential. They showed a loading efficiency up to 95% and a loading capacity up to 50% (w/w). The integrity of the entrapped ovalbumin was preserved. Release studies showed that more than 70% of the protein remained associated with the TMC nanoparticles for at least 3 h on incubation in PBS (pH 7.4) at 37 degrees C. Cytotoxicity tests with Calu-3 cells showed no toxic effects of the nanoparticles, whereas a partially reversible cilio-inhibiting effect on the ciliary beat frequency of chicken trachea was observed. In vivo uptake studies indicated the transport of FITC-albumin-associated TMC nanoparticles across the nasal mucosa. In conclusion, TMC nanoparticles are a potential new delivery system for transport of proteins through the nasal mucosa.

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