Synthesis of mucoadhesive thiolated gelatin using a two-step reaction process

Sarah Duggan, Orla O'Donovan, Eleanor Owens, Wayne Cummins, Helen Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Using a novel two-step approach, the thiolation of gelatin for mucoadhesive drug delivery has been achieved. The initial step involved the amination of native gelatin via an amine to carboxylic acid coupling reaction with ethylene diamine, followed by thiolation with Traut's reagent. The resulting thiolated product showed an increase in thiol content of up to 10-fold in comparison with control gelatin samples. Improved cohesion and mucoadhesion in comparison with unmodified and control gelatin samples was also observed. This reaction process was observed to be influenced by both the temperature and the pH of the amination reaction, affecting both amine content and product yield. Swelling ability, cohesion and mucoadhesion were all observed to be strongly dependent on the thiol content of the samples but also, importantly, the molecular weight (MW) of the gelatin used. Gelatin with a MW of 20-25 kDa proved to be optimal in creating this novel mucoadhesive gelatin material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-81
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • Amination
  • Ethylene diamine
  • Gelatin
  • Mucoadhesion
  • Thiolation
  • Traut's reagent
  • Two-step reaction


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