Stealth PLA-PEG nanoparticles as protein carriers for nasal administration

Pharm Res. 1998 Feb;15(2):270-5. doi: 10.1023/a:1011922819926.


Purpose: The aim of the study was to encapsulate a model protein antigen, tetanus toxoid (TT), within hydrophobic (PLA) and surface hydrophilic (PLA-PEG) nanoparticles and to evaluate the potential of these colloidal carriers for the transport of proteins through the nasal mucosa.

Methods: TT-loaded nanoparticles, prepared by a modified water-in-oil-in-water solvent evaporation technique, were characterized in their size, zeta potential and hydrophobicity. Nanoparticles were also assayed in vitro for their ability to deliver active antigen for extended periods of time. Finally, 125I-TT-loaded nanoparticles were administered intranasally to rats and the amount of radioactivity recovered in the blood compartment, lymph nodes and other relevant tissues was monitored for up to 48 h.

Results: PLA and PLA-PEG nanoparticles had a similar particle size (137-156 nm) and negative surface charge, but differed in their surface hydrophobicity: PLA were more hydrophobic than PLA-PEG nanoparticles. PLA-PEG nanoparticles, especially those containing gelatine as an stabilizer, provided extended delivery of the active protein. The transport of the radiolabeled protein through the rat nasal mucosa was highly affected by the surface properties of the nanoparticles: PLA-PEG nanoparticles led to a much greater penetration of TT into the blood circulation and the lymph nodes than PLA nanoparticles. Furthermore, after administration of 125I-TT-loaded PLA-PEG nanoparticles, it was found that a high amount of radioactivity persisted in the blood compartment for at least 48 h.

Conclusions: A novel nanoparticulate system has been developed with excellent characteristics for the transport of proteins through the nasal mucosa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Animals
  • Drug Carriers
  • Lactates / administration & dosage*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Particle Size
  • Polyethylene Glycols / administration & dosage*
  • Rats
  • Tetanus Toxoid / administration & dosage*
  • Tetanus Toxoid / pharmacokinetics
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Drug Carriers
  • Lactates
  • Tetanus Toxoid
  • poly(lactic acid-ethylene glycol)
  • Polyethylene Glycols