Mesoporous silica nanoparticles with large pores for the encapsulation and release of proteins


Tu, J., Boyle, A.L., Friedrich, H., Bomans, P.H.H., Bussmann, J., Sommerdijk, N.A.J.M., Jiskoot, W. & Kros, A. (2016). Mesoporous silica nanoparticles with large pores for the encapsulation and release of proteins. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 8(47), 32211-32219. In Scopus Cited 33 times.

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Mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) have been explored extensively as solid supports for proteins in biological and medical applications. Small (5 nm), capable of encapsulating therapeutic small molecules suitable for delivery applications in vivo, are rare however. Here we present small, elongated, cuboidal, MSNs with average dimensions of 90 × 43 nm that possess disk-shaped cavities, stacked on top of each other, which run parallel to the short axis of the particle. Amine functionalization was achieved by modifying the MSN surface with 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane or 3-[2-(2-aminoethylamino)ethylamino]propyltrimethoxysilane (AP-MSNs and AEP-MSNs) and were shown to have similar dimensions to the nonfunctionalized MSNs. The dimensions of these particles, and their large surface areas as measured by nitrogen adsorption-desorption isotherms, make them ideal scaffolds for protein encapsulation and delivery. We therefore investigated the encapsulation and release behavior for seven model proteins (α-lactalbumin, ovalbumin, bovine serum albumin, catalase, hemoglobin, lysozyme, and cytochrome c). It was discovered that all types of MSNs used in this study allow rapid encapsulation, with a high loading capacity, for all proteins studied. Furthermore, the release profiles of the proteins were tunable. The variation in both rate and amount of protein uptake and release was found to be determined by the surface chemistry of the MSNs, together with the isoelectric point (pI), and molecular weight of the proteins, as well as by the ionic strength of the buffer. These MSNs with their large surface area and optimal dimensions provide a scaffold with a high encapsulation efficiency and controllable release profiles for a variety of proteins, enabling potential applications in fields such as drug delivery and protein therapy.