Delivery of Peptides to the Blood and Brain after Oral Uptake of Quaternary Ammonium Palmitoyl Glycol Chitosan Nanoparticles

A. Lalatsa, N. L. Garrett, T. Ferrarelli, J. Moger, A. G. Schaetzlein, I. F. Uchegbu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


The clinical development of therapeutic peptides has been restricted to peptides for non-CNS diseases and parenteral dosage forms due to the poor permeation of peptides across the gastrointestinal mucosa and the blood-brain barrier. Quaternary ammonium palmitoyl glycol chitosan (GCPQ) nanoparticles facilitate the brain delivery of orally administered peptides such as leucine(5)-enkephalin, and here we examine the mechanism of GCPQ facilitated oral peptide absorption and brain delivery. By analyzing the oral biodistribution of radiolabeled GCPQ nanoparticles, the oral biodistribution of the model peptide leucine(5)-enkephalin and coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering microscopy tissue images after an oral dose of deuterated GCPQ nanoparticles, we have established a number of facts. Although 85-90% of orally administered GCPQ nanoparticles are not absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, a peak level of 2-3% of the oral GCPQ dose is detected in the blood 30 min after dosing, and these GCPQ particles appear to transport the peptides to the blood. Additionally, although peptide loaded nanoparticles from low (6 kDa) and high (50 kDa) molecular weight GCPQ are taken up by enterocytes, polymer particles with a polymer molecular weight greater than 6 kDa are required to facilitate peptide delivery to the brain after oral administration. By examining our current and previous data, we conclude that GCPQ particles facilitate oral peptide absorption by protecting the peptide from gastrointestinal degradation, adhering to the mucus to increase the drug gut residence time and transporting GCPQ associated peptide across the enterocytes and to the systemic circulation, enabling the GCPQ stabilized peptide to be transported to the brain. Orally administered GCPQ particles are also circulated from the gastrointestinal tract to the liver and onward to the gall bladder, presumably for final transport back to the gastrointestinal tract.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1764-1774
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


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