Chimeric lipid/block copolymer nanovesicles: Physico-chemical and bio-compatibility evaluation

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Chimeric systems are mixed nanovectors composed by different in nature materials and exhibit new functionalities and properties. The particular chimeric nanovectors, formed by the co-assembly of low and high molecular weight amphiphiles, have the potential to be utilized as drug delivery platforms. We have utilized two lipids, l-α-phosphatidylcholine, hydrogenated (Soy)(HSPC) and 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC), and a poly(oligoethylene glycol acrylate)-b-poly(lauryl acrylate) (POEGA-PLA) block copolymer, at different molar ratios, in aqueous media. Light scattering, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and imaging techniques (cryo-TEM, AFM) were employed in order to elucidate the structure and properties of the nanostructures, as well as the cooperativity between the components. DSC experiments showed considerable interaction of the block copolymer with the lipid bilayers and suggested an inhomogeneous distribution of the copolymer chains and lateral phase separation of the components. Vesicle formation was observed in most cases by cryo-TEM with a chimeric membrane exhibiting kinks, in accordance with DSC data. A series of biocompatibility experiments indicated good in vitro biological stability and low cytotoxicity in vivo of the novel nanocarriers. Finally, ibuprofen (IBU) was used as model drug in order to study the loading and the release properties of the prepared chimeric lipid/block copolymer vesicles.

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