Starch-Chitosan Polyplexes: A Versatile Carrier System for Anti-Infectives and Gene Delivery
Despite the enormous potential of nanomedicine, the search for materials from renewable resources that balance bio-medical requirements and engineering aspects is still challenging. This study proposes an easy method to make nanoparticles composed of oxidized starch and chitosan, both isolated from natural biopolymers. The careful adjustment of C/N ratio, polymer concentration and molecular weight allowed for tuning of particle characteristics. The system’s carrier capability was assessed both for anti-infectives and for nucleic acid. Higher starch content polyplexes were found to be suitable for high encapsulation efficiency of cationic anti-infectives and preserving their bactericidal function. A cationic carrier was obtained by coating the anionic polyplex with chitosan. Coating allowed for a minimal amount of cationic polymer to be employed and facilitated plasmid DNA loading both within the particle core and on the surface. Transfection studies showed encouraging result, approximately 5% of A549 cells with reporter gene expression. In summary, starch-chitosan complexes are suitable carriers with promising perspectives for pharmaceutical use.