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Halloysite nanotubes coated by chitosan for the controlled release of khellin


In this work, we have developed a novel strategy to prepare hybrid nanostructures with controlled release properties towards khellin by exploiting the electrostatic interactions between chitosan and halloysite nanotubes (HNT). Firstly, khellin was loaded into the HNT lumen by the vacuum-assisted procedure. The drug confinement within the halloysite cavity has been proved by water contact angle experiments on the HNT/khellin tablets. Therefore, the loaded nanotubes were coated with chitosan as a consequence of the attractions between the cationic biopolymer and the halloysite outer surface, which is negatively charged in a wide pH range. The effect of the ionic strength of the aqueous medium on the coating efficiency of the clay nanotubes was investigated. The surface charge properties of HNT/khellin and chitosan/HNT/khellin nanomaterials were determined by potential experiments, while their morphology was explored through Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Water contact angle experiments were conducted to explore the influence of the chitosan coating on the hydrophilic/hydrophobic character of halloysite external surface. Thermogravimetry (TG) experiments were conducted to study the thermal behavior of the composite nanomaterials. The amounts of loaded khellin and coated chitosan in the hybrid nanostructures were estimated by a quantitative analysis of the TG curves. The release kinetics of khellin were studied in aqueous solvents at different pH conditions (acidic, neutral and basic) and the obtained data were analyzed by the Korsmeyer-Peppas model. The release properties were interpreted on the basis of the TG and potential results. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that halloysite nanotubes wrapped by chitosan layers can be effective as drug delivery systems.