Materials science & engineering. C, Materials for biological applications

Self-aggregation of cationically modified poly(ε-caprolactone)2-co-poly(ethylene glycol) copolymers: Effect of cationic grafting ligand and poly(ε-caprolactone) chain length.

PMID 28024608


Cationic copolymers have been attractive to investigate due to their potential to complexation with anionic drugs and expected to use in the pharmaceutical application. In this study, the modified poly(ε-caprolactone)2-co-poly(ethylene glycol) copolymers (P(CL)2-PEG) were successfully synthesized by click reaction. The amount of small molecular cationic ligand, propargyltrimethyl ammonium iodide, was varied and grafted onto various mole ratios of P(CL) to PEG. The effects of P(CL) chain length and amount of the grafting cationic ligand on physicochemical properties of polymers and particles were studied. The number-average molecular weights of the copolymers grafted with cationic ligand were found ranging between 10,000 and 23,000g/mol as investigated by NMR. From DSC study, the results showed that the grafting ligand affected thermal behaviors of the copolymers by increasing the glass transition temperature and decreasing the melting temperature of the copolymers. Furthermore, these cationic copolymers could self-aggregate with their critical aggregation concentration depending on mole ratios of hydrophilic to hydrophobic portions. The particles containing higher amounts of the cationic ligand tended to aggregate in both acidic and basic pH environment and at high salt concentration. Additionally, particle size, size distribution (PdI), and morphology of self-assembling particles varied depending on P(CL) chain length and the amount of the grafting cationic ligand. The synthesized cationic copolymer showed a capability to encapsulate a high negatively charged drug, enoxaparin, with an encapsulation efficiency of 87%. After drug incorporation, the particles substantially changed in size, shape, PdI, and zeta potential to become more suitable for drug delivery. These cationic copolymers with flexible properties will be the candidate for further development as carriers for the delivery of negatively charged drugs.

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ε-Caprolactone, 97%