Why is Chitosan Mucoadhesive?
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1021/bm800276d
Chitosan is a biocompatible and biodegradable amino polysaccharide, which is soluble in aqueous solutions at pH < 6.5. It has been widely used for developing drug delivery systems because of its excellent mucoadhesive properties. Although many studies report on chitosan being mucoadhesive, the nature of interactions between chitosan and mucin remains poorly defined. Here, we have examined the role of primary amino groups and the role of electrostatic attraction, hydrogen bonding, and hydrophobic effects on aggregation of gastric mucin in the presence of chitosan. Reducing the number of amino groups through their half acetylation results in expansion of chitosan’s pH-solubility window up to pH 7.4 but also reduces its capacity to aggregate mucin. We demonstrated that electrostatic attraction forces between chitosan and gastric mucin can be suppressed in the presence of 0.2 mol/L sodium chloride; however, this does not prevent the aggregation of mucin particles in the presence of this biopolymer. The presence of 8 mol/L urea or 10% v/v ethanol in solutions also affects mucin aggregation in the presence of chitosan, demonstrating the role of hydrogen bonding and hydrophobic effects, respectively, in mucoadhesion.