Functionalized PLA polymers to control loading and/or release properties of drug-loaded nanoparticles

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Abstract

Advantages associated with the use of polylactic acid (PLA) nano- or microparticles as drug delivery systems have been widely proven in the field of pharmaceutical sciences. These biodegradable and biocompatible carriers have demonstrated different loading and release properties depending on interactions with the cargo, preparation methods, particles size or molecular weight of PLA. In this study, we sought to show the possibility of influencing these properties by modifying the structure of the constituting polymer. Seven non-functionalized or functionalized PLA polymers were specifically designed and synthesized by microwave-assisted ring-opening polymerization of d,l-lactide. They presented short hydrophobic and/or hydrophilic groups thanks to the use of C20 aliphatic chain, mPEG1000, sorbitan esters (Spans®) or polysorbates (Tweens®), their PEGylated analogues, as initiators. Then, seven types of drug-loaded nanoparticles (NP) were prepared from these polymers and compared in terms of physico-chemical characteristics, drug loading and release profiles. Although the loading properties were not improved with any of the functionalized PLA NP, different release profiles were observed in an aqueous medium at 37 °C and over a period of five days. The presence of PEG moieties in the core of PLA-polysorbates NP induced a faster release while the addition of a single aliphatic chain induced a slower release due to better interactions with the active molecule.

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