In vivo study of the mucus-permeating properties of PEG-coated nanoparticles following oral administration
The aim of this work was to investigate the mucus-permeating properties of poly(ethyleneglycol)-coated nanoparticles prepared from the copolymer of methyl vinyl ether and maleic anhydride (Gantrez® AN) after oral administration in rats. Nanoparticles were ¿decorated¿ with PEGs of different molecular masses (PEG2000, PEG6000 and PEG10000) at a PEG-to-polymer ratio of 0.125. All the PEG-coated nanoparticles displayed a mean size of ~150 nm, slightly negative ¿ values and a ¿brush¿ conformation as determined from the calculation of the PEG density. For in vivo studies, nanoparticles were labelled with either 99mTc or fluorescent tags. Naked nanoparticles displayed a higher ability to interact with the mucosa of the stomach than with the small intestine. However, these interactions were restricted to the mucus layer covering the epithelial surface, as visualised by fluorescence microscopy. On the contrary, PEG-coated nanoparticles moved rapidly to the intestine, as determined by imaging, and, then, were capable to develop important interactions with the mucosa, reaching the surface of the epithelium. These mucus permeating properties were more intense for nanoparticles coated with PEG2000 or PEG6000 than with PEG10000. However, the capability of nanocarriers to develop adhesive interactions within the mucosa decreased when prepared at excessive PEG densities.