The physical stability of chitosan nanoparticles cross-linked with sodium tripolyphosphate (TPP) was investigated over a period of 1 month. Special emphasis was placed on changes in the particle size and the particle compactness, which are two important physicochemical parameters of nanoparticulate drug delivery systems. The chitosan-TPP particles were prepared at different ionic strengths, chitosan chloride concentrations, and TPP-to-chitosan ratios. In the presence of monovalent salt, the positive ζ potential of the particles was reduced. In spite of this, the particles were more stable when prepared and stored under saline conditions compared to water. This could be attributed to the smaller particle sizes found in the presence of sodium chloride. Most of the particles prepared in saline solvents were stable with respect to changes in the size and the compactness of the particles. However, instability was observed at the highest cross-linker-to-polymer ratios. Generally, a reduction in the ζ potential and an increase in the particle compactness were observed at increasing TPP-to-chitosan ratios. This combined with the size increase induced by a high concentration of chitosan, increased the aggregation and sedimentation tendency of the particles and reduced the colloidal stability of the particles.
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