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Chitosan Nanogels by Template Chemical Cross-Linking in Polyion Complex Micelle Nanoreactors

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journal contribution
posted on 10.10.2011, 00:00 by Flavia Maggi, Serena Ciccarelli, Marco Diociaiuti, Stefano Casciardi, Giancarlo Masci
Chitosan covalent nanogels cross-linked with genipin were prepared by template chemical cross-linking of chitosan in polyion complex micelle (PIC) nanoreactors. By using this method, we were able to prepare chitosan nanogels using only biocompatible materials without organic solvents. PIC were prepared by interaction between chitosan (Xn = 23, 44, and 130) and block copolymer poly­(ethylene oxide)-block-poly­[sodium 2-(acrylamido)-2-methylpropanesulfonate] (PEO-b-PAMPS) synthesized by single-electron transfer–living radical polymerization (SET-LRP). PIC with small size (diameter about 50 nm) and low polydispersity were obtained up to 5 mg/mL. After cross-linking of chitosan with genipin, the nanoreactors were dissociated by adding NaCl. The dissociation of the nanoreactors and the formation of the nanogels were confirmed by 1H NMR, DLS, and TEM. The size of the smallest nanogels was about 50 nm in the swollen state and 20 nm in the dry state. The amount of genipin used during reticulation was an important parameter to modulate the size of the nanogels in solution.