Preparation and characterization of self-assembled nanoparticles based on glycol chitosan bearing adriamycin

Jae Hyung Park, Yong Woo Cho, Yoen Ju Son, Kwangmeyung Kim, Hesson Chung, Seo Young Jeong, Kuiwon Choi, Chong Rae Park, Rang Woon Park, In San Kim, Ick Chan Kwon

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An anthracycline drug, adriamycin, was chemically conjugated onto the backbone of glycol chitosan via an acid-labile cis-aconityl linkage. The physicochemical characteristics of the glycol chitosan-adriamycin (GC-ADR) conjugates were investigated by dynamic light scattering, atomic force microscopy, and fluorescence spectroscopy. The GC-ADR conjugates were capable of forming nano-sized self-aggregates in an aqueous medium, when the adriamycin content in the conjugate was in the range of 2.0-5.0 wt.%. The self-aggregates were spherical in shape, and had mean diameters of 238-304 nm, depending on the adriamycin content. The critical aggregation concentrations of the conjugates, estimated by the fluorescence quenching method, were as low as 1.0-2.5×10-2 mg/ml. The size of self-aggregates was not affected by the polymer concentration in the range from 50 to 2,000 μg/ml, and was maintained up to 8 days in phosphate-buffered saline (pH 7.4), indicating high colloidal stability. The release of adriamycin from self-aggregates was significantly dependent on the pH of the medium due to the cis-aconityl linkage; e.g., the amount of adriamycin released for 4 days was 7.3±0.3% at pH 7, whereas it was 29.3±1.9% at pH 4. The cell viability results demonstrated that free adriamycin shows more potent cytotoxicity than the conjugates, primarily attributed to the sustained release of adriamycin from self-aggregates. In conclusion, the self-aggregates, formed by GC-ADR conjugates, might be useful for the site-specific delivery of adriamycin in a sustained manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-770
Number of pages8
JournalColloid and Polymer Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Adriamycin
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Glycol chitosan
  • Self-aggregates
  • Sustained release


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