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Thermoresponsive block copolymers with UCST-behavior aimed at biomedical environments

Thermoresponsive Blockcopolymere mit UCST-Verhalten unter biomedizinisch relevanten Bedingungen
: Nizardo, Noverra M.
: Laschewsky, A.

Fulltext ()

Potsdam, 2018, XIII, 134 pp.
Potsdam, Univ., Diss., 2018
URN: urn:nbn:de:kobv:517-opus4-412217
Dissertation, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IAP ()

Thermoresponsive block copolymers of presumably highly biocompatible character exhibiting upper critical solution temperature (UCST) type phase behavior were developed. In particular, these polymers were designed to exhibit UCST-type cloud points (Tcp) in physiological saline solution (9 g/L) within the physiologically interesting window of 30-50°C. Further, their use as carrier for controlled release purposes was explored. Polyzwitterion-based block copolymers were synthesized by atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) via a macroinitiator approach with varied molar masses and co-monomer contents. These block copolymers can self-assemble in the amphiphilic state to form micelles, when the thermoresponsive block experiences a coil-to-globule transition upon cooling. Poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether (mPEG) was used as the permanently hydrophilic block to stabilize the colloids formed, and polyzwitterions as the thermoresponsive block to promote the temperature-triggered assembly-disassembly of the micellear aggregates at low temperature.
Three zwitterionic monomers were used for this studies, namely 3-((2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl)dimethylammonio)propane-1-sulfonate (SPE), 4-((2-(methacryloyl- oxy)ethyl)dimethylammonio)butane-1-sulfonate (SBE), and 3-((2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl)- dimethylammonio)propane-1-sulfate) (ZPE). Their (co)polymers were characterized with respect to their molecular structure by proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) and gel permeation chromatography (GPC). Their phase behaviors in pure water as well as in physiological saline were studied by turbidimetry and dynamic light scattering (DLS). These (co)polymers are thermoresponsive with UCST-type phase behavior in aqueous solution. Their phase transition temperatures depend strongly on the molar masses and the incorporation of co-monomers: phase transition temperatures increased with increasing molar masses and content of poorly water-soluble co-monomer. In addition, the presence of salt influenced the phase transition dramatically. The phase transition temperature decreased with increasing salt content in the solution. While the PSPE homopolymers show a phase transition only in pure water, the PZPE homopolymers are able to exhibit a phase transition only in high salinity, as in physiological saline. Although both polyzwitterions have similar chemical structures that differ only in the anionic group (sulfonate group in SPE and sulfate group in ZPE), the water solubility is very different. Therefore, the phase transition temperatures of targeted block copolymers were modulated by using statistical copolymer of SPE and ZPE as thermoresponsive block, and varying the ratio of SPE to ZPE. Indeed, the statistical copolymers of P(SPE-co-ZPE) show phase transitions both in pure water as well as in physiological saline. Surprisingly, it was found that mPEG-b-PSBE block copolymer can display “schizophrenic” behavior in pure water, with the UCST-type cloud point occurring at lower temperature than the LCST-type one.
The block copolymer, which satisfied best the boundary conditions, is block copolymer mPEG114-b-P(SPE43-co-ZPE39) with a cloud point of 45°C in physiological saline. Therefore, it was chosen for solubilization studies of several solvatochromic dyes as models of active agents, using the thermoresponsive block copolymer as “smart” carrier. The uptake and release of the dyes were explored by UV-Vis and fluorescence spectroscopy, following the shift of the wavelength of the absorbance or emission maxima at low and high temperature. These are representative for the loaded and released state, respectively. However, no UCST-transition triggered uptake and release of these dyes could be observed. Possibly, the poor affinity of the polybetaines to the dyes in aqueous environtments may be related to the widely reported antifouling properties of zwitterionic polymers.