Microfluidic-Assisted Fabrication of Dual-Coated pH-Sensitive Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles for Protein Delivery

Berrin Küçüktürkmen, Wali Inam, Fadak Howaili, Mariam Gouda, Neeraj Prabhakar, Hongbo Zhang*, Jessica M. Rosenholm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Microfluidics has become a popular method for constructing nanosystems in recent years, but it can also be used to coat other materials with polymeric layers. The polymeric coating may serve as a diffusion barrier against hydrophilic compounds, a responsive layer for controlled release, or a functional layer introduced to a nanocomposite for achieving the desired surface chemistry. In this study, mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) with enlarged pores were synthesized to achieve high protein loading combined with high protein retention within the MSN system with the aid of a microfluidic coating. Thus, MSNs were first coated with a cationic polyelectrolyte, poly (diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (PDDMA), and to potentially further control the protein release, a second coating of a pH-sensitive polymer (spermine-modified acetylated dextran, SpAcDEX) was deposited by a designed microfluidic device. The protective PDDMA layer was first formed under aqueous conditions, whereby the bioactivity of the protein could be maintained. The second coating polymer, SpAcDEX, was preferred to provide pH-sensitive protein release in the intracellular environment. The optimized formulation was effectively taken up by the cells along with the loaded protein cargo. This proof-of-concept study thus demonstrated that the use of microfluidic technologies for the design of protein delivery systems has great potential in terms of creating multicomponent systems and preserving protein stability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number181
Number of pages15
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • microfluidics
  • mesoporous silica nanoparticles
  • Protein delivery
  • polymer coating
  • pH response


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