Purpose. The aim of the present study was to develop a new type of core-shell nanoparticles from a family of novel amphiphilic copolymers, based on dextran (DEX) grafted with poly(ε–caprolactone) (PCL) side chains (PCL-DEX).
Methods. A family of PCL-DEX copolymers was synthesized in which both the molecular weight and the proportion by weight of DEX in the copolymer were varied. The nanoparticles were prepared by a technique derived from emulsion-solvent evaporation, during which emulsion stability was investigated using a Turbiscan. The nanoparticle size distribution, density, zeta potential, morphology, and suitability for freeze-drying were determined.
Results. Because of their strongly amphiphilic properties, the PCL-DEX copolymers were able to stabilize o/w emulsions without the need of additional surfactants. Nanoparticles with a controlled mean diameter ranging from 100 to 250 nm were successfully prepared. A mechanism of formation of these nanoparticles was proposed. Zeta potential measurements confirmed the presence of a DEX coating.
Conclusion. A new generation of polysaccharide-decorated nanoparticles has been successfully prepared from a family of PCL-DEX amphiphilic copolymers. They may have potential applications in drug encapsulation and targeting.
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