Uniformity of drug payload and its effect on stability of solid lipid nanoparticles containing an ester prodrug

Jin Ki Kim, Melissa D. Howard, Thomas D. Dziubla, John J. Rinehart, Michael Jay, Xiuling Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Nanocarrier systems are frequently characterized by their size distribution, while drug encapsulation in nanocarriers is generally characterized in terms of an entire population, assuming that drug distribution is uniform. Careful characterization of nanocarriers and assessment of their behavior in biological environments are essential for adequate prediction of the fate of the nanoparticles in vivo. Solid lipid nanoparticles containing [ 3H]-dexamethasone palmitate (an ester prodrug) and [ 14C]-stearyl alcohol (a component of the nanoparticle matrix) were prepared using the nanotemplate engineering method for bioresponsive tumor delivery to overcome interstitial fluid pressure gradients, a physiological barrier to tumor uptake of chemotherapeutic agents. While particle size analysis indicated a uniform size distribution of 93.2±0.5 nm, gel filtration chromatography (GFC) revealed two nanoparticle populations. Drug encapsulation efficiency was 97%, but it distributed differently in the two populations, with average drug/lipid ratios of 0.04 and 0.25, respectively. The difference in surface properties resulted in distinguishing protein adsorption features of the two populations. GFC and HPLC profiles of the mixture of nanoparticles and human serum albumin (HSA) showed that no HSA was adsorbed to the first population of nanoparticles, but minor amounts were adsorbed to the second population. After 24 h incubation in 50% human plasma, ≥ 80% of the [ 3H]-dexamethasone palmitate was associated with nanoparticles. Thus, characterization of solid lipid nanoparticles produced by this method may be challenging from a regulatory perspective, but the strong association of the drug with the nanoparticles in plasma indicates that this nanocarrier system has the potential for in vivo application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-216
Number of pages8
JournalACS Nano
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 25 2011


  • Dexamethasone
  • Encapsulation
  • Gel filtration chromatography
  • Nanoparticle
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (all)
  • Engineering (all)
  • Physics and Astronomy (all)


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