Optimization of PEGylation Conditions for BSA Nanoparticles Using Response Surface Methodology

Chemical coupling of polyethylene glycol (PEG) to proteins or particles (PEGylation), prolongs their circulation half-life by greater than 50-fold, reduces their immunogenicity, and also promotes their accumulation in tumors due to enhanced permeability and retention effect. Herein, phase separation method was used to prepare bovine serum albumin (BSA) nanoparticles. PEGylation of BSA nanoparticles was performed by SPA activated mPEG through their free amino groups. Effect of process variables on PEGylation efficiency of BSA nanoparticles was investigated and optimized through response surface methodology with the amount of free amino groups as response. Optimum conditions was found to be 32.5 g/l of PEG concentration, PEG-nanoparticle incubation time of 10 min, incubation temperature of 27°C, and pH of 7 for 5 mg of BSA nanoparticles in 1 mL phosphate buffer. Analysis of data showed that PEG concentration had the most noticeable effect on the amount of PEGylated amino groups, but pH had the least. Mean diameter and zeta potential of PEGylated nanoparticles under these conditions were 217 nm and −14 mV, respectively. In conclusion, PEGylated nanoparticles demonstrated reduction of the negative surface charge compared to the non modified particles with the zeta potential of −31.7 mV. Drug release from PEGylated nanoparticles was almost slower than non-PEGylated ones, probably due to existence of a PEG layer around PEGylated particles which makes an extra resistance in opposition to drug diffusion.

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