Size controlled protein nanoemulsions for active targeting of folate receptor positive cells

Ana Loureiro, Eugénia Nogueira, Nuno G. Azoia, Marisa P. Sárria, Ana S. Abreu, Ulyana Shimanovich, Alexandra Rollett, Johan Härmark, Hans Hebert, Georg Guebitz, Gonçalo J.L. Bernardes, Ana Preto, Andreia C. Gomes, Artur Cavaco-Paulo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Bovine serum albumin (BSA) nanoemulsions were produced by high pressure homogenization with a tri-block copolymer (Poloxamer 407), which presents a central hydrophobic chain of polyoxypropylene (PPO) and two identical lateral hydrophilic chains of polyethylene glycol (PEG). We observed a linear correlation between tri-block copolymer concentration and size - the use of 5. mg/mL of Poloxamer 407 yields nanoemulsions smaller than 100. nm. Molecular dynamics and fluorescent tagging of the tri-block copolymer highlight their mechanistic role on the size of emulsions. This novel method enables the fabrication of highly stable albumin emulsions in the nano-size range, highly desirable for controlled drug delivery. Folic Acid (FA)-tagged protein nanoemulsions were shown to promote specific folate receptor (FR)-mediated targeting in FR positive cells. The novel strategy presented here enables the construction of size controlled, functionalized protein-based nanoemulsions with excellent characteristics for active targeting in cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-98
Number of pages9
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V..


  • Active targeting
  • Folic acid
  • High pressure homogenization
  • PEGylated surfactant
  • Protein-based nanoemulsions


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