Preparation and characterization of tri-block poly(lactide)–poly(ethylene glycol)–poly(lactide) nanogels for controlled release of naltrexone

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Tri-block poly(lactide)–poly(ethylene glycol)–poly(lactide) (PLA–PEG–PLA) copolymers and related acrylated derivative were synthesized and used to prepare micelles and nanogels for controlled release of naltrexone. The resulting copolymers, micelles and nanogels were characterized by various techniques such as proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, gel permeation chromatography, fluorescence spectrometry, differential scanning calorimetry, photon correlation spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The nanogels exhibited high encapsulation efficiency around 60% and excellent stability for long periods of time. The drug release profiles of micelles and nanogels were compared and it was found that the naltrexone loaded nanogels offered a steady and long-term release pattern for different periods of time up to 35 days, depending on the crosslinker concentration, compared to the micelles. The size of nanogels could be manipulated easily in the range of 128–200 nm by variations in polymer concentration used in the nanogels preparation step. From the results obtained it can be concluded that PLA–PEG–PLA nanogels can be considered as a promising carrier for drug delivery purpose.

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