Pharmaceutical Research

, Volume 24, Issue 8, pp 1415–1426 | Cite as

Chitosan Reduced Gold Nanoparticles as Novel Carriers for Transmucosal Delivery of Insulin

  • Devika R. Bhumkar
  • Hrushikesh M. Joshi
  • Murali Sastry
  • Varsha B. Pokharkar
Research Paper



Colloidal metallic systems have been recently investigated in the area of nanomedicine. Gold nanoparticles have found themselves useful for diagnostic and drug delivery applications. Herein we have reported a novel method for synthesis of gold nanoparticles using a natural, biocompatible and biodegradable polymer; chitosan. Use of chitosan serves dual purpose by acting as a reducing agent in the synthesis of gold nanoparticles and also promotes the penetration and uptake of peptide hormone insulin across the mucosa. To demonstrate the use of chitosan reduced gold nanoparticles as carriers for drug delivery, we report herein the transmucosal delivery of insulin loaded gold nanoparticles.

Materials and Methods

Gold nanoparticles were prepared using different concentrations of chitosan (from 0.01% w/v up to 1% w/v). The gold nanoparticles were characterized for surface plasmon band, zeta potential, surface morphology, in vitro diffusion studies and fluorescence spectroscopy. The in vivo studies in diabetic male Wistar rats were carried out using insulin loaded chitosan reduced gold nanoparticles.


Varying concentrations of chitosan used for the synthesis of gold nanoparticles demonstrated that the nanoparticles obtained at higher chitosan concentrations (>0.1% w/v) were stable showing no signs of aggregation. The nanoparticles also showed long term stability in terms of aggregation for about 6 months. Insulin loading of 53% was obtained and found to be stable after loading. Blood glucose lowering at the end of 2 h following administration of insulin loaded gold nanoparticles to diabetic rats was found to be 30.41 and 20.27% for oral (50 IU/kg) and nasal (10 IU/kg), respectively. Serum gold level studies have demonstrated significant improvement in the uptake of chitosan reduced gold nanoparticles.


The synthesis of gold nanoparticles using a biocompatible polymer, chitosan would improve its surface properties for binding of biomolecules. Our studies indicate that oral and nasal administration of insulin loaded chitosan reduced gold nanoparticles has led to improved pharmacodynamic activity. Thus, chitosan reduced gold nanoparticles loaded with insulin prove to be promising in controlling the postprandial hyperglycemia.

Key words

chitosan gold nanoparticles insulin transmucosal 



blood glucose levels






surface plasmon band



DRB is thankful to the Fair & Lovely Foundation, for providing financial assistance in form of Project Saraswati Scholarship. The authors are thankful to Dr. Madhusudan Rao for providing the facility of zeta sizer.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Devika R. Bhumkar
    • 1
  • Hrushikesh M. Joshi
    • 2
  • Murali Sastry
    • 2
    • 3
  • Varsha B. Pokharkar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmaceutics, Poona College of PharmacyBharati Vidyapeeth UniversityPuneIndia
  2. 2.Nanoscience Group, Materials Chemistry DivisionNational Chemical LaboratoryPuneIndia
  3. 3.Tata Chemicals Innovation CentrePuneIndia

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