Pharmaceutical Research

, Volume 28, Issue 7, pp 1520–1530 | Cite as

Agarose Surface Coating Influences Intracellular Accumulation and Enhances Payload Stability of a Nano-delivery System

  • Enrica De Rosa
  • Ciro Chiappini
  • Dongmei Fan
  • Xuewu Liu
  • Mauro Ferrari
  • Ennio Tasciotti
Research Paper



Protein therapeutics often require repeated administrations of drug over a long period of time. Protein instability is a major obstacle to the development of systems for their controlled and sustained release. We describe a surface modification of nanoporous silicon particles (NSP) with an agarose hydrogel matrix that enhances their ability to load and release proteins, influencing intracellular delivery and preserving molecular stability.


We developed and characterized an agarose surface modification of NSP. Stability of the released protein after enzymatic treatment of loaded particles was evaluated with SDS-page and HPLC analysis. FITC-conjugated BSA was chosen as probe protein and intracellular delivery evaluated by fluorescence microscopy.


We showed that agarose coating does not affect NSP protein release rate, while fewer digestion products were found in the released solution after all the enzymatic treatments. Confocal images show that the hydrogel coating improves intracellular delivery, specifically within the nucleus, without affecting the internalization process.


This modification of porous silicon adds to its tunability, biocompatibility, and biodegradability the ability to preserve protein integrity during delivery without affecting release rates and internalization dynamics. Moreover, it may allow the silicon particles to function as protein carriers that enable control of cell function.


agarose hydrogel intracellular delivery nanopores porous silicon protein 



agarose composition 0.125%


agarose composition 0.05%


agarose coated




bovine serum albumin


fluorescence activated cell sorting


fibroblast growth factor


high performance liquid chromatography


human umbilical vein endothelial cells


bare / not coated


nanoporous silicon particles


poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)


porous silicon


sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis


scanning electron microscope


silicon nitride


vascular endothelial growth factor

Supplementary material

11095_2011_453_MOESM1_ESM.docx (5.5 mb)
ESM 1(DOCX 5663 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enrica De Rosa
    • 1
  • Ciro Chiappini
    • 2
  • Dongmei Fan
    • 1
  • Xuewu Liu
    • 1
  • Mauro Ferrari
    • 1
  • Ennio Tasciotti
    • 1
  1. 1.The Methodist Hospital Research Institute (TMHRI)HoustonUSA
  2. 2.University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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