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Nanomaterials 2018, 8(6), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8060373

Challenges for the Self-Assembly of Poly(Ethylene Glycol)–Poly(Lactic Acid) (PEG-PLA) into Polymersomes: Beyond the Theoretical Paradigms

1
Department of Biochemical and Pharmaceutical Technology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of São Paulo, Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes, 580-Bl.16, São Paulo 05508-000, Brazil
2
Department of Chemistry, University College London, Christopher Ingold Building, 20 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AJ, UK
3
Current address: BSRC Complex, School of Biology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews KY16 9ST, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 April 2018 / Revised: 17 May 2018 / Accepted: 22 May 2018 / Published: 26 May 2018
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Abstract

Polymersomes (PL), vesicles formed by self-assembly of amphiphilic block copolymers, have been described as promising nanosystems for drug delivery, especially of biomolecules. The film hydration method (FH) is widely used for PL preparation, however, it often requires long hydration times and commonly results in broad size distribution. In this work, we describe the challenges of the self-assembly of poly (ethylene glycol)-poly(lactic acid) (PEG-PLA) into PL by FH exploring different hydrophilic volume fraction (f) values of this copolymer, stirring times, temperatures and post-FH steps in an attempt to reduce broad size distribution of the nanostructures. We demonstrate that, alongside f value, the methods employed for hydration and post-film steps influence the PEG-PLA self-assembly into PL. With initial FH, we found high PDI values (>0.4). However, post-hydration centrifugation significantly reduced PDI to 0.280. Moreover, extrusion at higher concentrations resulted in further improvement of the monodispersity of the samples and narrow size distribution. For PL prepared at concentration of 0.1% (m/v), extrusion resulted in the narrower size distributions corresponding to PDI values of 0.345, 0.144 and 0.081 for PEG45-PLA69, PEG114-PLA153 and PEG114-PLA180, respectively. Additionally, we demonstrated that copolymers with smaller f resulted in larger PL and, therefore, higher encapsulation efficiency (EE%) for proteins, since larger vesicles enclose larger aqueous volumes. View Full-Text
Keywords: amphiphilic block copolymers; polymeric vesicles; self-aggregated nanostructures; post-film hydration steps amphiphilic block copolymers; polymeric vesicles; self-aggregated nanostructures; post-film hydration steps
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Apolinário, A.C.; Magoń, M.S.; Pessoa Jr., A.; Rangel-Yagui, C.O. Challenges for the Self-Assembly of Poly(Ethylene Glycol)–Poly(Lactic Acid) (PEG-PLA) into Polymersomes: Beyond the Theoretical Paradigms. Nanomaterials 2018, 8, 373.

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