Microscopy and tunable resistive pulse sensing characterization of the swelling of pH-responsive, polymeric expansile nanoparticles

Colby, Aaron H., Yolonda L. Colson, and Mark W. Grinstaff. "Microscopy and tunable resistive pulse sensing characterization of the swelling of pH-responsive, polymeric expansile nanoparticles." Nanoscale 5, no. 8 (2013): 3496-3504.

Polymeric expansile nanoparticles (eNPs) that respond to a mildly acidic environment by swelling with water and expanding 2–10× in diameter represent a new responsive drug delivery system. Here, we use a variety of techniques to characterize the pH- and time-dependence of eNP swelling as this is a key property responsible for the observed in vitro and in vivo performance of eNPs. Results demonstrate a significant change in eNP volume (>350×) at pH 5.0 as seen using: scanning electron microscopy (SEM), conventional transmission electron microscopy (TEM), freeze-fracture transmission electron microscopy (ff-TEM), fluorescence microscopy, and a new nanopore based characterization technology, the qNano, which measures both individual particle size as well as overall particle concentration in situ using tunable resistive pulse sensing. eNP swelling occurs in a continuous and yet heterogeneous manner over several days and is pH dependent.

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