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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2013, Article ID 238351, 11 pages
Research Article

Cationic Gelatin Nanoparticles for Drug Delivery to the Ocular Surface: In Vitro and In Vivo Evaluation

1Graduate Institute of Biomedical Materials and Tissue Engineering, College of Oral Medicine, Taipei Medical University, No. 250, Wu-Hsing Street, Taipei City 110, Taiwan
2Division of Medical Engineering Research, National Health Research Institutes, No. 35, Keyan Road, Zhunan Town, Miaoli County 350, Taiwan
3Department of Ophthalmology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, No. 201, Section 2, Shipai Road, Beitou District, Taipei City 112, Taiwan
4National Yang-Ming University, No. 155, Section 2, Linong Street, Taipei City 112, Taiwan
5Institute of Biomedical Engineering, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Section 1, Ren-ai Road, Taipei City 100, Taiwan
6Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Material Science, Central Taiwan University of Science and Technology, No. 666, Buzih Road, Taichung City 406, Taiwan
7Graduate Institute of Medical Science, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, No. 250, Wu-Hsing Street, Taipei City 110, Taiwan

Received 2 August 2013; Revised 12 November 2013; Accepted 25 November 2013

Academic Editor: Anchal Srivastava

Copyright © 2013 Ching-Li Tseng et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


To develop an effective ocular drug delivery carrier, we prepared two different charged gelatin nanoparticles (GPs) and evaluated particle size, surface charge, and morphology. The in vitro biocompatibility of GPs was assessed using human corneal epithelium (HCE) cells and in vivo safety by administering them as eye drops to New Zealand rabbits. The GPs prepared using type A gelatin were positively charged (GP(+), +33 mV; size,  nm). Water-soluble tetrazolium salt (WST)-1 assay showed that both GPs were nontoxic to HCE cells. The fluorescence intensity of HCE cells cultured with cationic GPs conjugated with a fluorescent dye was higher than that of the anionic GP-treated HCE cells. In vivo examination showed no serious irritation to the rabbit eyes. Furthermore, corneal thickness and ocular pressure in the eyes of the treated rabbits were similar to those in the eyes of normal rabbits. Microscopic examination of corneal cryosections showed widely distributed fluorescent nanocarriers, from the anterior to the posterior part of the cornea of the GP(+) group, and higher fluorescence intensity in the GP(+) group was also observed. In conclusion, GPs as cationic colloidal carriers were efficiently adsorbed on the negatively charged cornea without irritating the eyes of the rabbits and can be retained in the cornea for a longer time. Thus, GPs(+) have a great potential as vehicles for ocular drug delivery.