Background: Immunotherapy involving dendritic cells (DC) has been used to treat cancer
with satisfactory results. The generation of mature dendritic cells derived from monocytes, however,
is expensive because of the use of cytokines.
Objective: To reduce DC therapy costs, it is important to evaluate lower-cost materials capable of
inducing dendritic cell maturation; for this purpose, we synthetized chitosan nanoparticles.
Methods: Chitosan nanoparticles were synthetized by ionic gelation and characterized using dynamic
light scattering, laser Doppler electrophoresis, transmission electron microscopy and infrared spectrum.
Endotoxin levels were determined by Limulus amoebocyte lysate. The biological effect was
evaluated by microscopy, immunophenotypification, cellular viability and phagocytosis assays.
Results: We synthetized endotoxin-free chitosan nanoparticles with an average size of 208 nm and
semi-spherical morphology. The nanoparticles induced changes in monocyte morphology, surface
marker expression and phagocytosis that correlate with those of DC. These preliminary results demonstrate
that chitosan nanoparticles can induce monocyte differentiation into immature dendritic cells
and, when combined with albumin and keyhole limpet hemocyanin, they can induce dendritic cell
Conclusion: We conclude that chitosan nanoparticles are a suitable alternative for lower-cost DC
immunotherapy generation, provided that our results be corroborated in vivo.