Open Access Nano Express

Development of dextran nanoparticles for stabilizing delicate proteins

Fei Wu1, Zhihua Zhou2, Jing Su1, Liangming Wei3*, Weien Yuan1* and Tuo Jin1

Author Affiliations

1 School of Pharmacy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 800 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai 200240, China

2 State Key Laboratory of Electronic Thin Film and Integrated Devices, School of Microelectronics and Solid-state Electronics, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 610054, China

3 Key Laboratory for Thin Film and Microfabrication of the Ministry of Education, Institute of Micro/Nano Science and Technology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:197  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-197

Published: 27 April 2013


One of the most challenging problems in the development of protein pharmaceuticals is to deal with stabilities of proteins due to its complicated structures. This study aims to develop a novel approach to stabilize and encapsulate proteins into dextran nanoparticles without contacting the interface between the aqueous phase and the organic phase. The bovine serum albumin, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), β-galactosidase, and myoglobin were selected as model proteins. The proteins were added into an aqueous solution containing the dextran and polyethylene glycol, and then encapsulated into dextran nanoparticles by aqueous-aqueous freezing-induced phase separation. The encapsulation efficiency and recovery of dextran nanoparticles were determined. The dextran nanoparticles loaded with proteins were characterized by scanning electron microscopy and particle size analysis. The protein aggregation was determined by size-exclusion chromatography-high-performance chromatography, and the bioactivity of proteins recovered during formulation steps was determined. The bioactivity of GM-CSF, G-CSF, and β-galactosidase were examined by the proliferation of TF-1 cell, NSF-60 cell, and ortho-nitrophenyl-β-galactoside assay, respectively. The results of bioactivity recovered show that this novel dextran nanoparticle can preserve the protein's bioactivity during the preparation process. LysoSensor™ Yellow/Blue dextran, a pH-sensitive indicator with fluorescence excited at two channels, was encapsulated into dextran nanoparticles to investigate the ability of dextran nanoparticles to resist the acidic microenvironment (pH < 2.5). The result shows that the dextran nanoparticles attenuate the acidic microenvironment in the poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) microsphere by means of the dilution effect. These novel dextran nanoparticles provided an appealing approach to stabilize the delicate proteins for administration.

Dextran nanoparticles; Protein; Aggregation; Bioactivity; Acidic microenvironment