TitleChitosan amphiphiles provide new drug delivery opportunities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsUchegbu IF, Carlos M, McKay C, Hou X, Schätzlein AG
JournalPolymer International
Date Published2014/01/01

Chitosan, an acid soluble and renewable biopolymer, was first studied as a drug delivery agent in 1990. This review focuses on the relatively newer self-assembling chitosan amphiphiles and their use as drug delivery agents. Chitosan amphiphiles, first introduced in the late 1990s, are prepared by conjugating hydrophobic and sometimes additional hydrophilic units to chitosan. These amphiphiles self-assemble in aqueous media at neutral pH to form micelles, with critical micellar concentrations (CMCs) ranging from 0.09 to 700 µg mL−1 . The CMCs depend on the actual molecular architecture, molecular weight and hydrophobic character, but are typically lower than the values reported for block copolymer amphiphiles. As well as linear amphiphiles in which chitosan is derivatised with hydrophobic pendant groups, new claw amphiphiles have been prepared in which chitosan amphiphiles radiate geometrically from a dendrimer core. These chitosan amphiphiles (linear and claw) have been exploited as drug delivery agents and they increase the oral bioavailability of hydrophobic drugs up to sixfold, deliver hydrophobic drugs to tumours, genes to the liver via the intravenous route, genes to the muscle via the intramuscular routes and small interfering RNAs to tumours via the intratumoural route. Chitosan amphiphile nanoparticles also deliver peptides to the brain via the intravenous and oral routes.