Carboxymethylinulin–Chitosan Nanoparticles for the Delivery of Antineoplastic Mitoxantrone

Daniele Merli, Fabrizio Pivi, Antonella Profumo, Paolo Quadrelli, Chiara Milanese, Giulia Risi, Livia Visai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mitoxantrone (MTX) is an antineoplastic agent whose use is limited by serious side effects on non-neoplastic cells. The aim of this study was the development of a new drug release system using an ionotropic gelation technique for microencapsulation of MTX in chitosan–carboxymethylinulin nanoparticles (CCInp), followed by evaluation of their cytotoxic effects on neoplastic MDA-MB-231 and non-neoplastic NIH3T3 cell lines. The CCInp were prepared through a new reliable method for easy functionalization of both inulin and chitosan. Both unloaded and drug-loaded nanoparticles were characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and dynamic light scattering (DLS) and showed a spherical morphology with an average hydrodynamic diameter between 40 and 80 nm. Both nanoparticles were stable and easily degraded by lysozyme. MTX-loaded nanoparticles led to a greater mortality of MDA-MB-231 relative to free drug due to the ability of the nanoparticles to accumulate preferentially in neoplastic cells. The developed drug release system retains the ability to kill MDA-MB-231 cells in vitro, improving the survival of NIH3T3 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2436-2444
Number of pages9
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 7 2016


  • biopolymer
  • chitosan
  • ionotropic gelation
  • mitoxantrone
  • nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Organic Chemistry


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