Influence of the stabilizer coating layer on the purification and freeze-drying of poly(D,L-lactic acid) nanoparticles prepared by an emulsion-diffusion technique

J Microencapsul. 1998 Jan-Feb;15(1):107-19. doi: 10.3109/02652049809006840.


In this study, the purification by cross-flow filtration (CFF) and freeze drying of poly(D,L-lactic acid) (PLA) nanoparticles prepared by an emulsion-diffusion technique using poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVAL) or poloxamer 188 (P-188) were investigated. The stability of the suspensions was correlated to the affinity of the stabilizers for the nanoparticle surface, the resistance of the coating layer to continuous filtration and to freeze-thawing procedures. The results indicated a clear difference between the two stabilizers, suggesting that the nature of the coating layer has a very important role during CFF and freeze-drying. Nanoparticles prepared with PVAL were filtered and freeze-dried without nanoparticle fusion. This behaviour was attributed to the formation of a stable thick layer (similar to that found for polystyrene latex). In contrast, aggregation of nanoparticles was observed during CFF for the batches prepared with P-188, indicating that the polypropylene oxide blocks present in the copolymer have little affinity for the PLA surface. However, these suspensions were successfully recovered when using stabilizer solutions as diafiltration media, suggesting a dynamic exchange between the P-188-adsorbed chains and those of the identical polymer remaining in the bulk solution. The presence of P-188 did not prevent nanoparticle aggregation after freeze-drying. Therefore, the use of cryoprotectants was necessary. Aggregation may have been due to an increase in the solubility of P-188 in the bulk solution, which provokes a destabilization of the suspension by desorption and partial coverage of the surface. The best cryoprotectants were found to be sugars containing glucose units. The cryoprotective effect was related to the hydrogen bonding capability of these sugars, which prevented aggregation by dehydration of P-188 forcing it to the PLA surface.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical / methods*
  • Diffusion
  • Emulsions
  • Excipients / chemistry*
  • Filtration
  • Freeze Drying
  • Lactic Acid / chemistry*
  • Lactic Acid / isolation & purification*
  • Particle Size
  • Polyesters
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Polymers / isolation & purification*


  • Emulsions
  • Excipients
  • Polyesters
  • Polymers
  • Lactic Acid
  • poly(lactide)