Gold Nanoparticles: Tunable Characteristics and Potential for Nasal Drug Delivery

Aida Maaz, Ian Blagbrough, Paul A. De Bank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Downloads (Pure)


A general procedure to prepare gold nanourchins (GNUs) via a seed-mediated method was followed using dopamine hydrochloride as a reducing agent and silver nitrate salt (AgNO3) as a shape-directing agent. The novelty of this study comes from the successful incorporation of the prepared gold urchins as an aqueous suspension in a nasal pressurized metered dose inhaler (pMDI) formulation and the investigation of their potential for olfactory targeting for direct nose-to-brain drug delivery (NTBDD). The developed pMDI formulation was composed of 0.025% w/w GNUs, 2% w/w Milli-Q water, and 2% w/w EtOH, with the balance of the formulation being HFA134a propellant. Particle integrity and aerosolization performance were examined using an aerosol exposure system, whereas the nasal deposition profile was tested in a sectioned anatomical replica of human nasal airways. The compatibility of the gold dispersion with the nasal epithelial cell line RPMI 2650 was also investigated in this study. Colloidal gold was found to be stable following six-month storage at 4 °C and during the lyophilization process utilizing a pectin matrix for complete re-dispersibility in water. The GNUs were intact and discrete following atomization via a pMDI, and 13% of the delivered particles were detected beyond the nasal valve, the narrowest region in the nasal cavity, out of which 5.6% was recovered from the olfactory region. Moreover, the formulation was found to be compatible with the human nasal epithelium cell line RPMI 2650 and excellent cell viability was observed. The formulated GNU-HFA-based pMDI is a promising approach for intranasal drug delivery, including deposition in the olfactory region, which could be employed for NTBDD applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number669
Number of pages23
Issue number5
Early online date16 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2024

Data Availability Statement

The original contributions presented in the study are included in the article/supplementary material, further inquiries can be directed to the corresponding author.


We also thank Michael Zachariadis (Material and Chemical Characterisation Facility, University of Bath) for his support with confocal microscopy, and Adam McAleer (School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol) for his support of ICP-OES analysis. This article is based on Chapter 2 of Aida Maaz’s PhD thesis, "Aerosolised Nanoparticles for Nose-to-Brain Drug Delivery (NTBDD)".


  • gold nanoparticles
  • intranasal
  • nose-to-brain
  • pMDI
  • RPMI 2650


Dive into the research topics of 'Gold Nanoparticles: Tunable Characteristics and Potential for Nasal Drug Delivery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this