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Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2014 Nov 1;123:286-92. doi: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2014.09.028. Epub 2014 Sep 22.

Systematic study on the preparation of BSA nanoparticles.

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Department of Applied Physics, University of Granada, 18071-Granada, Spain.
Department of Applied Physics II, Engineering School, University of Málaga, 29071-Málaga, Spain. Electronic address:


Albumins, in the form of nanoparticles, are increasingly used as drug carriers in the medical field, and the size effect of these nanomaterials is of major importance since it may affect their bioavailability and the in vivo behaviour after intravenous injection. This research provides a comprehensive study on the preparation of BSA nanoparticles, based on a simple coacervation method, with suitable size, size distribution, and surface charge for drug-delivery applications. Numerous experimental variables were examined in order to characterize their impact on nanoparticle size, distribution, electrophoretic mobility, and yield. Particle size was controlled by adjusting self-assembly phenomena of the protein molecules, which was affected by preparation conditions including BSA content, pH, and ionic strength (a parameter that strongly influences nanoparticle formation but surprisingly has not been previously studied in detail). Small particles with a narrow size distribution were obtained under experimental conditions where the repulsion between BSA molecules was high, i.e. at pH values far from the isoelectric point of the protein and low salt concentration. Changes in temperature, volume, and rate of addition of the dehydrating agent (ethanol) also affect nanoparticle characteristics, as they influence the nucleation rate and particle growth. The effect of these experimental conditions on the quantity of protein still dissolved in the aqueous phase after desolvation (i.e. the yield of BSA nanoparticles) was also studied. Nanoparticles surface charge was modulated with the extension of cross-linking. Finally, long-term colloidal stability of samples was evaluated after 2 months of storage.


BSA nanoparticles; Coacervation method; Physicochemical parameters

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