Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, University of Macau, Macao SAR, China; Hong Kong Baptist University Shenzhen Research Center, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China; School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong SAR, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Chitosan (CS), a nature-derived polysaccharide, is a promising nano-carrier material with good biocompatibility and biodegradability. However, the biomedical applications of CS are hindered because of its poor aqueous solubility. To circumvent this drawback, a series of Brij-grafted-chitosan copolymers (BCs) with various grafting degree of Brij-S20 were first developed and reported. The results indicated that the water solubility of BCs (from 9.13 to 9.54 mg/mL) were much higher than that of CS (0.32 mg/mL), due to the broken intra- and/or inter-molecular hydrogen bonds and the decreased initial crystallinity in BCs. The amphiphilic structure of BCs presented lower critical micelle concentration (0.116-0.376 mg/mL) thus facilitating its self-aggregation into micelles for drug encapsulation. Moreover, BCs markedly enhanced the intracellular uptake of rhodamine-123 in MDCK-MDR1 cells. This inhibition on Pgp-mediated efflux was also confirmed by confocal microscopy. In conclusion, BCs could be further developed as polymeric nano-carriers for those drugs with Pgp-mediated efflux.