in this study, for the first time, TMC/MCC complex nanoparticles as a delivery system and as an adjuvant were developed and evaluated to obtain systemic and mucosal immune responses against nasally administered tetanus toxoid (TT). Nanoparticles were developed by complexation between the oppositely charged chitosan derivatives, N-trimethyl chitosan (TMC, polycationic) and mono-N-carboxymethyl chitosan (MCC, polyampholytic) without using any crosslinker for mucosal vaccination. The cellular viability was found to be higher with TMC/MCC complex compared to that of MCC and TMC alone. Size, zeta potential and morphology of the nanoparticles were investigated as a function of preparation method. Nanoparticles with high loading efficacy(95%) and positively charged surface were obtained with an average particle size of 283 +/- 2.5 nm. The structural integrity of the TT in the nanoparticles was confirmed by SDS-PAGE electrophoresis analysis. Cellular uptake studies indicated that FITC-BSA loaded nanoparticles were effectively taken up into the mouse Balb/c monocyte macrophages. Mice were nasally immunized with TT loaded TMC/MCC complex nanoparticles and compared to that of TMC and MCC nanoparticles. TMC/MCC complex nanoparticles were shown to induce both the mucosal and systemic immune response indicating that this newly developed system has potential for mucosal administration of vaccines. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.