The use of nanocrystalline cellulose for the binding and controlled release of drugs

Int J Nanomedicine. 2011;6:321-30. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S16749. Epub 2011 Feb 10.


The objective of this work was to investigate the use of nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) as a drug delivery excipient. NCC crystallites, prepared by an acid hydrolysis method, were shown to have nanoscopic dimensions and exhibit a high degree of crystallinity. These crystallites bound significant quantities of the water soluble, ionizable drugs tetratcycline and doxorubicin, which were released rapidly over a 1-day period. Cetyl trimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) was bound to the surface of NCC and increased the zeta potential in a concentration-dependent manner from -55 to 0 mV. NCC crystallites with CTAB-modified surfaces bound significant quantities of the hydrophobic anticancer drugs docetaxel, paclitaxel, and etoposide. These drugs were released in a controlled manner over a 2-day period. The NCC-CTAB complexes were found to bind to KU-7 cells, and evidence of cellular uptake was observed.

Keywords: controlled release; drug delivery; nanocrystalline cellulose.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cellulose / administration & dosage*
  • Cellulose / chemistry*
  • Cellulose / pharmacokinetics
  • Cetrimonium
  • Cetrimonium Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Cetrimonium Compounds / chemistry
  • Cetrimonium Compounds / pharmacokinetics
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / chemistry*
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / pharmacokinetics
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Fluorescein
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Powder Diffraction


  • Cetrimonium Compounds
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Cellulose
  • Fluorescein
  • Cetrimonium