Synthesis of pH-responsive chitosan nanocapsules for the controlled delivery of doxorubicin

Chih Kuang Chen, Qing Wang, Charles H. Jones, Yun Yu, Hanguang Zhang, Wing Cheung Law, Cheng Kee Lai, Qinghang Zeng, Paras N. Prasad, Blaine A. Pfeifer, Chong Cheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Well-defined chitosan nanocapsules (CSNCs) with tunable sizes were synthesized through the interfacial cross-linking of N-maleoyl-functionalized chitosan (MCS) in miniemulsions, and their application in the delivery of doxorubicin (Dox) was investigated. MCS was prepared by the amidation reaction of CS with maleic anhydride in water/DMSO at 65 °C for 20 h. Subsequently, thiol-ene cross-linking was conducted in oil-in-water miniemulsions at room temperature under UV irradiation for 1 h, using MCS as both a surfactant and precursor polymer, 1,4-butanediol bis(3-mercapto-propionate) as a cross-linker, and d-α-tocopheryl poly(ethylene glycol) 1000 succinate as a cosurfactant. With the increase in cosurfactant concentration in the reaction systems, the sizes of the resulting CSNCs decreased steadily. Dox-loaded CSNCs were readily prepared by in situ encapsulation of Dox during miniemulsion cross-linking. With acid-labile β-thiopropionate cross-linkages, the Dox-loaded CSNCs demonstrated a faster release rate under acidic conditions. Relative to free Dox, Dox-loaded CSNCs exhibited enhanced cytotoxicity toward MCF-7 breast cancer cells without any noticeable cytotoxicity from empty CSNCs. The effective delivery of Dox to MCF-7 breast cancer cells via Dox-loaded CSNCs was also observed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4111-4119
Number of pages9
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry

Cite this