Responsive hydrogel nanoparticles for pulmonary delivery

Nathanael A. Stocke, Susanne M. Arnold, J. Zach Hilt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Nanoparticles represent one of the most widely studied classes of advanced drug delivery platforms in recent years due to a wide range of unique properties and capabilities that can be utilized to improve upon traditional drug administration. Conversely, hydrogel nanoparticles (HNPs)-also called nanogels-represent a unique class of materials that combine the intrinsic advantages of nanotechnology with the inherent capabilities of hydrogels. Responsive hydrogels pose a particularly interesting class of materials that can sense and respond to external stimuli and previous reports of inhalable hydrogel particles have highlighted their potential in pulmonary delivery. Here, we synthesized two different pH-responsive HNPs, designated HNP120 and HNP270, by incorporating functional monomers with a common crosslinker and characterized their physicochemical properties. One of the HNP systems was selected for incorporation into a composite dry powder by spray drying, and the aerodynamic performance of the resulting powder was evaluated. The HNP120s displayed a hydrodynamic diameter of approximately 120 nm in their fully swollen state and a minimal diameter of around 80 nm while the HNP270s were approximately 270 nm and 115 nm, respectively. Electron microscopy confirmed particle size- and morphological uniformity of the HNPs. The HNP120s were spray dried into composite dry powders for inhalation and cascade impaction studies showed good aerosol performance with a mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD) of 4.82 ± 0.37 and a fine particle fraction > 30%. The HNPs released from the spray dried composites retained their responsive behavior thereby illustrating the potential for these materials as intelligent drug delivery systems that combine the advantages of nanotechnology, lung targeting through pulmonary delivery, and stimuli-responsive hydrogels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Drug Delivery Science and Technology
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work would not have been possible without the efforts of Marjorie L. Guy. The project described was supported by Grant Number R25CA153954 from the National Cancer Institute . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Cancer Institute or the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Aerosol performance
  • Drug delivery
  • Inhalation
  • Nanoparticles
  • Pulmonary delivery
  • Responsive hydrogels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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