Functionalization of Poly(Ethylene Oxide)-based Diblock Copolymer Vesicles
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The principal goal of this research is to achieve the chemical labeling and surface modification of block copolymer vesicles (polymersomes) made from amphiphilic diblock copolymer Poly(butadiene-b-ethylene oxide) (PBd120- PEO89, MW 10400 g/mol) with the aim of developing possible drug carrier vehicles for controlled release of molecules triggered by stimuli-responsive environments. The terminal hydroxyl group of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO), or poly(ethylene glycol) is converted into its corresponding carboxylic acid by a novel one-pot two-phase oxidation reaction. This regioselective and catalytic reaction assures the preservation of important structural characteristic of the block copolymers. Vesicles formed by a mixture of the carboxylate and unmodified block copolymer exhibit an increment in the critical aggregation concentration (CAC) value while the averaged vesicle size decreases demonstrating that the negative charges in the modified diblock copolymer disrupt the vesicle formation process. The carboxylated reactive intermediates are subsequently subjected to a covalent coupling reaction in organic solvent to replace the terminal hydroxyl of the PEO block. The obtained functionalized diblock copolymers are effectively incorporated into the vesicle bilayer. Also, surface density control in polymersomes of fluorescently modified diblock copolymers, synthesized by the amination reaction, is achieved. To demonstrate the ability of this polymersomes as carrier vehicles, a Noradrenaline functionalized vesicle is placed in closed contact with rat aortic smooth muscle cells (RASMC) using the micropipette aspiration technique. A distinctive increase in fluorescent intensity of cells is observed. It indicates that the drug molecule has been transported by the polymersome and internalized by the cell. In addition, diblock copolymers containing a disulfide moiety and a fluorophore are synthesized and studied through fluorescent microscopy. Vesicles are formed with this polymer and a decrease in fluorescent intensity is observed in the vesicle's bilayer after its exposure to a reductive environment. These results indicate that fluorophore molecules are successfully released into solution.
Kinnibrugh Garcia, Karym G. (2010). Functionalization of Poly(Ethylene Oxide)-based Diblock Copolymer Vesicles. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from