Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis of Polymer Nanoparticles in Blood Plasma

Mark S. Bannon, Aida López Ruiz, Karen Corrotea Reyes, Miriam Marquez, Zahra Wallizadeh, Mohammad Savarmand, Connor A. LaPres, Joerg Lahann, Kathleen McEnnis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A successful drug delivery system must overcome complex biological barriers. For particles injected into the blood, one of the first and most critical barriers pertains to blood stability to circulate through the human body. To effectively design drug delivery vehicles, interactions between the particles and blood, as well as the aggregation behavior, must be understood. This work presents a method to analyze particle size and aggregation in blood plasma using a commercially available nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) system. As a model system, fluorescently labeled polystyrene nanoparticles are incubated in goat blood plasma and analyzed using NTA. The particles incubated in plasma are found to have a protein corona that is larger than what has been observed by dynamic light scattering (DLS) in diluted plasma. Particles that are decorated with a PEG layer are also found to have large protein coronas in undiluted plasma. Because NTA is based on a unique visualization method, large multicomponent aggregates could be observed and quantified in a manner not feasible with other techniques. PEGylation of the particles is found to decrease the multicomponent aggregation from 1000 ± 200 particles for unmodified to 200 ± 30 particles for 1K PEGylated per 1 × 105 total particles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2100016
JournalParticle and Particle Systems Characterization
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • nanoparticle tracking analysis
  • particle aggregation
  • polystyrene nanoparticles
  • protein corona


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