Fabrication of silk fibroin nanoparticles for controlled drug delivery

Jiashen Li, Z Zhao, A Z Chen, Y Li, J Y Hu, X Liu, J S Li, Y Zhang, G Li, Z J Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A novel solution-enhanced dispersion by supercritical CO2 (SEDS) was employed to prepare silk fibroin (SF) nanoparticles. The resulting SF nanoparticles exhibited a good spherical shape, a smooth surface, and a narrow particle size distribution with a mean particle diameter of about 50 nm. The results of X-ray powder diffraction, thermo gravimetry-differential scanning calorimetry, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analysis of the SF nanoparticles before and after ethanol treatment indicated conformation transition of SF nanoparticles from random coil to beta-sheet form and thus water insolubility. The MTS assay also suggested that the SF nanoparticles after ethanol treatment imposed no toxicity. A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, indomethacin (IDMC), was chosen as the model drug and was encapsulated in SF nanoparticles by the SEDS process. The resulting IDMC-SF nanoparticles, after ethanol treatment, possessed a theoretical average drug load of 20%, an actual drug load of 2.05%, and an encapsulation efficiency of 10.23%. In vitro IDMC release from the IDMC-SF nanoparticles after ethanol treatment showed a significantly sustained release over 2 days. These studies of SF nanoparticles indicated the suitability of the SF nanoparticles prepared by the SEDS process as a biocompatible carrier to deliver drugs and also the feasibility of using the SEDS process to reach the goal of co-precipitation of drug and SF as composite nanoparticles for controlled drug delivery.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • silk fibroin
  • nanoparticles
  • supercritical co2
  • indomethacin
  • drug delivery
  • solution-enhanced dispersion
  • supercritical fluids
  • seds process
  • cytotoxicity
  • microspheres
  • biomaterial
  • scaffolds
  • hydrogels
  • release


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