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

Quan Gan, T. Wang, C. Cochrane, Paul McCarron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

597 Citations (Scopus)


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. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-73
Number of pages9
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
Volume44 (2-3)
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces and Interfaces

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