A study of the aggregation of cyclodextrins: Determination of the critical aggregation concentration, size of aggregates and thermodynamics using isodesmic and K2-K models

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The aggregation of three different cyclodextrins (CDs): 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HP-β-CD), 2-hydroxypropyl-γ-cyclodextrin (HP-γ-CD) and sulfobutylether-β-cyclodextrin (SBE-β-CD) was studied. The critical aggregation concentration (cac) of these three CDs is quite similar and is situated at ca. 2% (m/v). There was only a small difference in the cac values determined by DLS and 1H NMR. DLS measurements revealed that CDs in solution have three size populations wherein one of them is that of a single CD molecule. The size of aggregates determined by TEM appears to be similar to the size of the aggregates in the second size distribution determined by DLS. Isodesmic and K2-K self-assembly models were used for studying the aggregation process of HP-β-CD, HP-γ-CD and SBE-β-CD. The results showed that the aggregation process of these CDs is a cooperative one, where the first step of aggregation is less favorable than the next steps. The determined thermodynamic parameters showed that the aggregation process of all three CDs is spontaneous and exothermic and it is driven by an increase of the entropy of the environment.

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