Cationic albumin-conjugated pegylated nanoparticles as novel drug carrier for brain delivery

J Control Release. 2005 Oct 20;107(3):428-48. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2005.03.027.


In this paper, a novel drug carrier for brain delivery, cationic bovine serum albumin (CBSA) conjugated with poly(ethyleneglycol)-poly(lactide) (PEG-PLA) nanoparticle (CBSA-NP), was developed and its effects were evaluated. The copolymers of methoxy-PEG-PLA and maleimide-PEG-PLA were synthesized by ring opening polymerization of D,L-lactide initiated by methoxy-PEG and maleimide-PEG, respectively, which were applied to prepare pegylated nanoparticles by means of double emulsion and solvent evaporation procedure. Native bovine serum albumin (BSA) was cationized and thiolated, followed by conjugation through the maleimide function located at the distal end of PEG surrounding the nanoparticle's surface. Transmission electron micrograph (TEM) and dynamic light scattering results showed that CBSA-NP had a round and regular shape with a mean diameter around 100 nm. Surface nitrogen was detected by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and colloidal gold stained around the nanoparticle's surface was visualized in TEM, which proved that CBSA was covalently conjugated onto its surface. To evaluate the effects of brain delivery, BSA conjugated with pegylated nanoparticles (BSA-NP) was used as the control group and 6-coumarin was incorporated into the nanoparticles as the fluorescent probe. The qualitative and quantitative results of CBSA-NP uptake experiment compared with those of BSA-NP showed that rat brain capillary endothelial cells (BCECs) took in much more CBSA-NP than BSA-NP at 37 degrees C, at different concentrations and time incubations. After a dose of 60 mg/kg CBSA-NP or BSA-NP injection in mice caudal vein, fluorescent microscopy of brain coronal sections showed a higher accumulation of CBSA-NP in the lateral ventricle, third ventricle and periventricular region than that of BSA-NP. There was no difference on BCECs' viability between CBSA-conjugated and -unconjugated pegylated nanoparticles. The significant results in vitro and in vivo showed that CBSA-NP was a promising brain drug delivery carrier with low toxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Albumins / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Capillaries / cytology
  • Capillaries / metabolism
  • Cations
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Coumarins / administration & dosage
  • Coumarins / chemistry
  • Drug Carriers*
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Electrochemistry
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Maleimides / chemistry
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Nanostructures
  • Nephelometry and Turbidimetry
  • Particle Size
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry*
  • Rats
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • X-Ray Diffraction


  • Albumins
  • Cations
  • Coumarins
  • Drug Carriers
  • Maleimides
  • maleimide
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • coumarin