Thermally responsive polymeric micellar nanoparticles self-assembled from cholesteryl end-capped random poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-N,N-dimethylacrylamide): synthesis, temperature-sensitivity, and morphologies.
Cholesteryl end-capped thermally responsive amphiphilic polymers with two different hydrophobic/hydrophilic chain-length ratios were synthesized from the hydroxyl-terminated random poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-N,N-dimethylacrylamide) and cholesteryl chloroformate. The hydroxyl-terminated precursor polymers with narrow molecular weight distributions were synthesized by free-radical polymerization using 2-hydroxyethanethiol as a chain-transfer agent. The aqueous solutions of the cholesteryl end-capped copolymers exhibited reversible phase transitions at temperatures slightly above human body temperature, with the lower critical solution temperature values being 37.7 and 38.2 degrees C, respectively. The critical micelle concentration values of the two cholesteryl end-capped polymers were 9 and 25 mg/L, respectively. Polymeric micellar nanoparticles were prepared from the amphiphilic polymers using a dialysis method as well as a direct dissolution method. Transmission electron microscope studies showed that the micellar nanoparticles existed in different morphologies, including spherical, star-like, and cuboid shapes. Pyrene as a model hydrophobic compound could be readily encapsulated in these polymeric nanoparticles, at loading levels of 1.0 and 0.8 mg/g for the two cholesteryl end-capped polymers, respectively. The temperature sensitivity and unusual morphology of these novel polymeric nanoparticles would make an interesting drug delivery system.
Liu, X-M; Yang, Y-Y; Leong, KW
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