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Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2005 Aug;44(2-3):65-73.

Modulation of surface charge, particle size and morphological properties of chitosan-TPP nanoparticles intended for gene delivery.

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School of Chemical Engineering, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT9 5AG, UK.


This work investigates the polyanion initiated gelation process in fabricating chitosan-TPP (tripolyphosphate) nanoparticles in the size range of 100-250 nm intended to be used as carriers for the delivery of gene or protein macromolecules. It demonstrates that ionic gelation of cationic chitosan molecules offers a flexible and easily controllable process for systematically and predictably manipulating particle size and surface charge which are important properties in determining gene transfection efficacy if the nanoparticles are used as non-viral vectors for gene delivery, or as delivery carriers for protein molecules. Variations in chitosan molecular weight, chitosan concentration, chitosan to TPP weight ratio and solution pH value were examined systematically for their effects on nanoparticle size, intensity of surface charge, and tendency of particle aggregation so as to enable speedy fabrication of chitosan nanoparticles with predetermined properties. The chitosan-TPP nanoparticles exhibited a high positive surface charge across a wide pH range, and the isoelectric point (IEP) of the nanoparticles was found to be at pH 9.0. Detailed imaging analysis of the particle morphology revealed that the nanoparticles possess typical shapes of polyhedrons (e.g., pentagon and hexagon), indicating a similar crystallisation mechanism during the particle formation and growth process. This study demonstrates that systematic design and modulation of the surface charge and particle size of chitosan-TPP nanoparticles can be readily achieved with the right control of critical processing parameters, especially the chitosan to TPP weight ratio.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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