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Chitosan Nanocapsules: Effect Of Chitosan Molecular Weight And Acetylation Degree On Electrokinetic Behaviour And Colloidal Stability.
M. J. Santander-Ortega, J. M. Peula-García, F. Goycoolea, J. L. Ortega-Vinuesa
Published 2011 · Chemistry, Medicine
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In recent years, chitosan nanocapsules have shown promising results as carriers for oral drug or peptide delivery. The success in their applicability strongly depends on the stability of these colloidal systems passing through the digestive tract. In gastric fluids, clear stability comes from the high surface charge density of the chitosan shell, which is completely charged at acidic pH values. However, in the intestinal fluid (where the pH is almost neutral) the effective charge of these nanocapsules approaches zero, and the electrostatic forces cannot provide any stabilization. Despite the lack of surface charge, chitosan nanocapsules remain stable in simulated intestinal fluids. Recently, we have demonstrated that this anomalous stability (at zero charge) is owed to short-range repulsive forces that appear between hydrophilic particles when immersed in saline media. The present work examines the influence of the chitosan hydrophobicity, as well as molecular weight, in the stability of different chitosan nanocapsules. A study has been made of the size, polydispersity, electrophoretic mobility, and colloidal stability of eight core-shell nanocapsule systems, in which the chitosan-shell properties have been modified using low-molecular-weight (LMW) and high-molecular-weight (HMW) chitosan chains having different degrees of acetylation (DA). With regard to the stability mediated by repulsive hydration forces, the LMW chitosan provided the best results. In addition, contrary to initial expectations, greater stability (also mediated by hydration forces) was found in the samples formed with chitosan chains of high DA values (i.e. with less hydrophilic chitosan). Finally, a theoretical treatment was also tested to quantify the hydrophilicity of the chitosan shells.
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