In this research, stimuli-responsive porous/hollow nanoparticles were prepared by the self-assembly method. First, chitosan-graft-poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (CS-g-PNIPAAm) copolymers were synthesized through polymerization of N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAm) monomer in the presence of chitosan (CS) solution using ceric ammounium nitrate as the initiator. Then, the CS-g-PNIPAAm copolymers were dissolved in the acetic acid aqueous solution and heated to 40 °C to induce their self-assembly. After CS-g-PNIPAAm assembled to form micelles, a cross-linking agent was used to reinforce the structure to form nanoparticles. The molecular weight of grafted PNIPAAm on CS chains was changed to investigate its effect on the structure, morphology, thermo-, and pH-responsive properties of the nanoparticles. TEM images showed that a porous or hollow structure in the interior of nanoparticles was developed, depending on the medium temperature. The synthesized nanoparticles carried positive charges on the surface and exhibited stimuli-responsive properties, and their mean diameter thus could be manipulated by changing the pH value and temperature of the environment. The nanoparticles showed a continuous release of the encapsulated doxycycline hyclate up to 10 days during an in vitro release experiment. These porous/hollow particles with environmentally sensitive properties are expected to be used in hydrophilic drug delivery system.
Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry 48(11), pp.2377–2387