- Amphiphilic Diblock Copolymers: Study of Interpolyelectrolyte Complexation in Organic Media and Nanoencapsulation of Melatonin (2011)
- Two oppositely charged homopolyelectrolytes poly(2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl¬dimethyl-ethyl¬ammonium bromide) (PDMAEMAQ) and poly(acrylic acid) (PAA), and amphiphilic diblock copolymers based on polystyrene and the ionizable block poly(acrylic acid) were synthesized via Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP). All polymers were characterized using 1H NMR and gel permeation chromatography to confirm their structure, molecular weight distribution and to follow the conversion. Poly(2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate), PDMAEMA, was quaternized with ethyl bromide to produce PDMAEMAQ with a quaternization degree of 98%. Furthermore, poly(acrylic acid) segments were obtained after hydrolysis of the poly(t-butyl acrylate) block. After characterization of all polymers, interpolyelectrolyte complexation in chloroform was carried out. A novel method was developed to transfer the insoluble polyelectrolytes into the organic solvent and subsequently form polymer/polymer interpolyelectrolyte (IPECs) in organic media. Therein, the polyelectrolyte were first reacted with oppositely charged low molecular weight surfactants (sodium dodecyl sulfate, SDS, and cetyltrimethylammonium bromide, CTAB) to form polyelectrolyte-surfactant complexes (PESCs). In organic solvents, analogously to the formation of IPECs in aqueous media, interpolyelectrolyte complexation takes place upon the direct mixing of organic solutions of two complementary PESCs. This process is accompanied by an entropically favorable release of the surfactant counterions (in the form of ion pairs or their aggregates in low polarity organic solvents), which were previously associated with the ionic groups of the polyelectrolytes in solution. These reactions are fast and lead to frozen and non-equilibrium macromolecular co-assemblies. The size and the morphologies of the IPECs in chloroform were extensively investigated using transmission electronic microscopy (TEM), scanning force microscopy (SFM), dynamic/static light scattering techniques, 1HMR and turbidimetric titrations, for two different systems: (i) homopolyelectrolyte/homopolyelectrolyte and (ii) homopolycation/negatively charged amphiphilic diblock copolymer. For the first system, the possible particle structures consist either of particles with a core formed by IPECs stabilized by fragments of the excess polymeric component or of vesicles (polymersomes). In system (ii), particles of micellar type with a core assembled from electrostatically coupled segments of the polymeric components can be found, surrounded by a corona built up either from a mixture of polystyrene blocks and excess segments of PDMAEMAQ+DS- chains or from a mixture of polystyrene blocks and excess parts of PA-CTA+ blocks, depending on which polymeric component was present in surplus during the interpolyelectrolyte complexation. Finally, nanocapsules loaded with melatonin were fabricated using a simple nanoprecipitation route employing a mixture of a diblock copolymer based on poly(methyl methacrylate) and PDMAEMA (PMMA-b-PDMAEMA) in combination with poly(ε-caprolactone), PCL. The diblock copolymers were synthesized via ATRP using PMMA-macroinitiators for the DMAEMA polymerization. Shape and size of the nanocarriers were visualized by TEM, cryogenic TEM and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Standard TEM for nanocapsules showed an oily core surrounded by a thin layer composed of PCL/PMMA-b-PDMAEMA. Cryo-TEM also indicated the presence of spherical nanoobjects with a diffuse polymer corona. Encapsulation efficiencies were determined assaying the nanoparticles by HPLC and values of ca. 30-35% are shown by the nanocapsules. DLS measurements further confirmed well-defined unimodal particle size distributions for all formulations. It was also possible to successfully incorporate platinum nanoparticles into the nanocarrier, as evidenced by TEM, which opens up possibilities for promising applications like monitoring the circulation of the drug carrier within the body.