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G Praveen et al 2012 Nanotechnology 23 095102 doi:10.1088/0957-4484/23/9/095102
Fibrin nanoconstructs (FNCs) were prepared through a modified water-in-oil emulsification–diffusion route without the use of any surfactants, resulting in a high yield synthesis of fibrin nanotubes (FNTs) and fibrin nanoparticles (FNPs). The fibrin nanoconstructs formed an aligned structure with self-assembled nanotubes with closed heads that eventually formed spherical nanoparticles of size ~250 nm. The nanotubes were typically ~700 nm long and 150–300 nm in diameter, with a wall thickness of ~50 nm and pore diameter of about 150–250 nm. These constructs showed high stability against aggregation indicated by a zeta potential of −44 mV and an excellent temperature stability upto 200 °C. Furthermore, they were found to be enzymatically degradable, thereby precluding any long term toxicity effects. These unique fibrin nanostructures were analyzed for their ability to deliver tacrolimus, an immunosuppressive drug that is used widely to prevent the initial phase of tissue rejection during allogenic transplantation surgeries. Upon conjugation with tacrolimus, a drug encapsulation efficiency of 66% was achieved, with the in vitro release studies in PBS depicting a sustained and complete drug release over a period of one week at the physiological pH of 7.4. At a more acidic pH, the drug release was very slow, suggesting their potential for oral–intestinal drug administration as well. The in vivo drug absorption rates analyzed in Sprague Dawley rats further confirmed the sustained release pattern of tacrolimus for both oral and parenteral delivery routes. The novel fibrin nanoconstructs developed using a green chemistry approach thus proved to be excellent biodegradable nanocarriers for oral as well as parenteral administrations, with remarkable potential also for delivering specific growth factors in tissue engineering scaffolds.