Applied Nanoscience

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 655–663 | Cite as

Ketamine nano-delivery based on poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) nanoparticles

  • Sota Hirano
  • Michele Bovi
  • Alessandro Romeo
  • Flavia Guzzo
  • Cristiano Chiamulera
  • Massimiliano Perduca
Original Article


This work describes a novel method for the generation of a ketamine nano-delivery, to improve brain blood barrier permeability and increase drug therapeutic window as anaesthetic, analgesic and potential antidepressant. The approach herein described is based on ketamine-loaded poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) nanoparticles coupled to an apolipoprotein E (ApoE) peptide for delivery to the central nervous system. PLGA particles were synthesized with amount of drug, coupled with the ApoE peptide on the surface, and validated by physical characterization. The produced nanodevice showed a good colloidal stability in water, confirmed by zeta potential measurements, with a diameter in the range of 185–205 nm. The ketamine encapsulation was verified by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry analyses obtaining an encapsulation efficiency up to 21.2 ± 3.54%. Once the occurrence of ApoE peptide functionalization was confirmed with fluorescence spectroscopy, the thermal stability and morphological information were obtained by differential scanning calorimetry and further dynamic light scattering measurements. The spherical shape and a rough nanoparticles surface were observed by atomic force microscopy. The reliability of this approach may be further developed as a protocol to be used to generate PLGA nanoparticles greater than 100 nm able to better penetrate blood brain barrier and release a neuroactive molecule at lower doses.


Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanoparticles Ketamine Apolipoprotein E Double emulsion Nanodrug delivery Anaesthesia 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neuropsychopharmacology Lab, Section Pharmacology, Department of Diagnostic & Public HealthUniversity of VeronaVeronaItaly
  2. 2.Department of BiotechnologyUniversity of VeronaVeronaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of VeronaVeronaItaly

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