Polyethylene glycol as an alternative polymer solvent for nanoparticle preparation

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Solvent toxicity is one of the major drawbacks in the preparation of polymeric nanoparticles today. Here, polyethylene glycols (PEGs) are proposed as non-toxic solvents for the preparation of polymeric nanoparticles. Based on a preparation process similar to the solvent displacement technique, several process parameters were examined for their effects on the properties of the prepared nanoparticles by this method to achieve the optimum preparation conditions. The investigated parameters included polymer type and concentration, volume and temperature of the dispersing phase, methods of dispersing the solvent phase into the non-solvent phase, duration and speed of stirring and washing by dialysis. Ammonio methacrylate copolymer (Eudragit RL), poly-lactide-co-glycolide (PLGA), and PEG-PLGA were found to be successful polymer candidates for the preparation of nanoparticles by this method. Nanoparticles with diameters ranging from 80 to 400 nm can be obtained. The encapsulation efficiencies of bovine serum albumin, and lysozyme as model proteins were ranging from 7.3 ± 2.2% to 69.3 ± 1.8% depending on the strength of polymer–protein interaction. Biological assays confirmed a full lysozyme activity after the preparation process. PEG proved to be a suitable non-toxic solvent for the preparation of polymeric protein-loaded nanoparticles, maintaining the integrity of protein.Graphical abstract

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