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Chitosan-Coated Nanoparticles: Effect Of Chitosan Molecular Weight On Nasal Transmucosal Delivery

Franciele Bruinsmann, Stefania Pigana, Tanira Aguirre, Gabriele Souto, Gabriela Pereira, Annalisa Bianchera, Laura Fasiolo, Gaia Colombo, Magno Marques, Adriana Pohlmann, Silvia Guterres, Fabio Sonvico

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Drug delivery to the brain represents a challenge, especially in the therapy of central nervous system malignancies. Simvastatin (SVT), as with other statins, has shown potential anticancer properties that are difficult to exploit in the central nervous system (CNS). In the present work the physico–chemical, mucoadhesive, and permeability-enhancing properties of simvastatin-loaded poly-ε-caprolactone nanocapsules coated with chitosan for nose-to-brain administration were investigated. Lipid-core nanocapsules coated with chitosan (LNCchit) of different molecular weight (MW) were prepared by a novel one-pot technique, and characterized for particle size, surface charge, particle number density, morphology, drug encapsulation efficiency, interaction between surface nanocapsules with mucin, drug release, and permeability across two nasal mucosa models. Results show that all formulations presented adequate particle sizes (below 220 nm), positive surface charge, narrow droplet size distribution (PDI < 0.2), and high encapsulation efficiency. Nanocapsules presented controlled drug release and mucoadhesive properties that are dependent on the MW of the coating chitosan. The results of permeation across the RPMI 2650 human nasal cell line evidenced that LNCchit increased the permeation of SVT. In particular, the amount of SVT that permeated after 4 hr for nanocapsules coated with low-MW chitosan, high-MW chitosan, and control SVT was 13.9 ± 0.8 μg, 9.2 ± 1.2 µg, and 1.4 ± 0.2 µg, respectively. These results were confirmed by SVT ex vivo permeation across rabbit nasal mucosa. This study highlighted the suitability of LNCchit as a promising strategy for the administration of simvastatin for a nose-to-brain approach for the therapy of brain tumors.