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Self-Assembly of Catecholic Moiety-Containing Cationic Random Acrylic Copolymers.

The journal of physical chemistry. B (2015-06-16)
Vincenzo Taresco, Lorenzo Gontrani, Fernanda Crisante, Iolanda Francolini, Andrea Martinelli, Lucio D'Ilario, Federico Bordi, Antonella Piozzi
ABSTRACT

Amphiphilic polyelectrolytes (APEs), exhibiting particular self-association properties in aqueous media, can be used in different industrial applications, including drug delivery systems. Their typical core-shell structure (micelle) depends on the balance of interactions between hydrophobic and ionizable monomer units. In this work, the structure of amphiphilic cationic random copolymers, obtained by employing different molar ratios of two acrylic monomers, one bearing in the side chain a tertiary amine (N,N-diethylethylendiamine, DED) and the other one a hydrophobic catecholic group (hydroxytyrosol, HTy), was investigated by atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulation, (1)H NMR analysis, dynamic light scattering (DLS), and zeta potential measurements. The structures of p(AcDED-co-AcHTy) copolymers were compared with that of the cationic homopolymer (pAcDED). MD simulation showed a chain folding in water solution of all polymer materials consistent with the degree of hydrophobicity of the chain, that increases with the number of aromatic residues. This phenomenon was induced by the interaction between the charged amine groups with water and by the associated attraction between aromatic rings inside the molecule. In addition, the p(AcDED-co-AcHTy) 70/30 copolymer had a marked tendency to self-assemble as shown by the radial distribution function among catechol carbon atoms. Electrical conductivity measurements evidenced a micellar arragment for all of the synthesized copolymers, and specially for p(AcDED-co-AcHTy) 70/30, a flower micelle structure seem to be more likely. The stacking interactions among catecholic groups present in the side chain of the copolymers reduced the size and charge density specially for the p(AcDED-co-AcHTy) 70/30 copolymer. Finally, the good antimicrobial activity of all copolymers confirmed the right reached amphiphilic balance. Indeed, a considerable reduction of the minimum inhibitory concentration (from 100 μg/mL to 40 μg/mL for pAcDED and p(AcDED-co-AcHTy) 70/30, respectively) was obtained by introducing a hydrophobic group molar fraction of 0.3.

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