Design and production of hybrid nanoparticles with polymeric-lipid shell–core structures: conventional and next-generation approaches
Liposomes constitute a class of prominent drug delivery systems due their cell-mimetic behaviour. Despite their high biocompatibility, biodegradability and low intrinsic toxicity, their poor stability in biological fluids as well as in stock conditions (high tendency to degrade or aggregate) have led to new approaches for liposome stabilization (e.g., surface covering with polymers). Here, liposomes were enwrapped by the natural biocompatible polymer chitosan to achieve stable shell–core nanostructures. Covered nanoliposomes were produced using an innovative continuous method based on microfluidic principles. The produced hybrid polymeric-lipid nanoparticles were characterized in terms of structural properties, size and stability. Moreover, phenomenological aspects in formation of nanoliposomal vesicles and chitosan layering, product quality (structure, size) and manufacturing yield related to this novel method were compared with those of the conventional dropwise method and the obtained products. The proposed simil-microfluidic method led to the production of stable and completely chitosan-covered liposomes with a shell–core nanostructure that avoided the disadvantages inherent in the conventional method (which are time-consuming and/or require bulky and more expensive equipment).