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

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of Controlled Release, Volume 111, Number 1-2, pp. 107-116 (2006)



DOI Name (links to online publication)



n-trimethyl chitosan nanoparticles; nasal protein delivery; calu-3 cells; ciliary beat frequency; in-vitro evaluation; epithelial-cells caco-2; drug-delivery; clearance characteristics; transfection efficiency; absorption enhancement; intestinal-absorptio


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. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.