Journal of Pharmaceutical Investigation

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 57–65 | Cite as

Physicochemical characterization and cytotoxicity of chitosan-modified single walled carbon nanotubes as drug carriers

  • Xiao-Xue Zhang
  • Hao-Yan Huang
  • Li-Qing Chen
  • Hehua Jin
  • Beom-Jin Lee
  • Jing-Hao Cui
  • Qing-Ri CaoEmail author
Original Paper


The application of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) as drug carriers is limited by their poor dispersal in aqueous medium. This study aimed to prepare chitosan (CS)-modified SWCNTs (CS-SWCNTs) and to evaluate their physicochemical properties and cytotoxicity. Oxidized SWCNTs (O-SWCNTs) were prepared with the use of strong acid, and the effects of acidizing conditions on the oxidation degree of the O-SWCNTs were investigated. CS was then non-covalently modified on the surfaces of O-SWCNTs. O-SWCNTs and CS-SWCNTs were characterized through ultraviolet spectroscopy, Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. The cytotoxic effects of the functionalized SWCNTs were determined through the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay. O-SWCNTs with relatively complete structure were successfully synthesized through 5 h of treatment with 5 M acid. The amine group of the CS and the carboxyl group of O-SWCNTs interacted in CS-SWCNTs. The functionalized SWCNTs did not aggregate or precipitate in water and exerted no cytotoxic effects on A549 and MCF-7 tumor cells. The CS-SWCNTs possess the advantages of a simple preparation process, excellent water dispersibility, and biocompatibility for drug loading.


Carbon nanotubes Chitosan TEM Raman spectroscopy X-ray diffraction Cytotoxicity 



This work was partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81373333, 21373262), and a Project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development (PAPD) of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of human and animal rights

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© The Korean Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiao-Xue Zhang
    • 1
  • Hao-Yan Huang
    • 1
  • Li-Qing Chen
    • 1
  • Hehua Jin
    • 2
  • Beom-Jin Lee
    • 3
  • Jing-Hao Cui
    • 1
  • Qing-Ri Cao
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Pharmaceutical SciencesSoochow UniversitySuzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Nanodevices and Applications, Suzhou Institute of Nanotech and NanobionicsChinese Academy of ScienceSuzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.College of PharmacyAjou UniversitySuwonRepublic of Korea

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