Synthesis of a novel PEG-block-poly(aspartic acid-stat-phenylalanine) copolymer shows potential for formation of a micellar drug carrier


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Abstract

A novel functionalised copolymer with three polymeric components, poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(aspartic acid-stat-phenylalanine), PEG-P(asp-phe), was synthesised and investigated for its potential to form micelles via ionic interactions with a model water-soluble drug, diminazene aceturate. Drug-free solutions of structurally related PEG-P(asp-phe) 5:6:4 and PEG-P(asp-phe) 5:4:6 copolymers indicated polymeric aggregation into micellar-type constructs. The size of PEG-P(asp-phe) 5:6:4 micelles was found to be pH and drug content-dependent. The drug-loaded systems existed as discreet units and were fairly uniform in size and shape. More drug could be included in the PEG-P(asp-phe) 5:6:4 micelles as compared to if only interaction with carboxyl groups from aspartic acid units was responsible for micelle formation, indicating the augmentative role of phenylalanine moieties in drug-incorporation. The slower in vitro drug release from PEG-P(asp-phe) 5:6:4 micelles as compared to PEG-Pasp (AB) micelles indicated the role of the phenylalanine moiety in controlling drug release. This study, therefore, confirmed the potential of a novel tri-component copolymer structure, PEG-P(asp-phe), for the formation of polyionic micelles for drug delivery.

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