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Gels 2017, 3(1), 7; doi:10.3390/gels3010007

Hydrogel Micro-/Nanosphere Coated by a Lipid Bilayer: Preparation and Microscopic Probing

Department of Chemistry & Physical Sciences, Pace University, 861 Bedford Road, Pleasantville, NY 10570, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Gaio Paradossi
Received: 30 December 2016 / Revised: 8 February 2017 / Accepted: 10 February 2017 / Published: 15 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro- and Nanogels)
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The result of polymeric nanogels and lipid vesicles interaction—lipobeads—can be considered as multipurpose containers for future therapeutic applications, such as targeted anticancer chemotherapy with superior tumor response and minimum side effects. In this work, micrometer sized lipobeads were synthesized by two methods: (i) mixing separately prepared microgels made of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPA) and phospholipid vesicles of micrometer or nanometer size and (ii) polymerization within the lipid vesicles. For the first time, a high vacuum scanning electron microscopy was shown to be suitable for a quick validation of the structural organization of wet lipobeads and their constituents without special sample preparation. In particular, the structural difference of microgels prepared by thermal and UV-polymerization in different solvents was revealed and three types of giant liposomes were recognized under high vacuum in conjunction with their size, composition, and method of preparation. Importantly, the substructure of the hydrogel core and multi- and unilamellar constructions of the peripheral lipid part were explicitly distinguished on the SEM images of lipobeads, justifying the spontaneous formation of a lipid bilayer on the surface of microgels and evidencing an energetically favorable structural organization of the hydrogel/lipid bilayer assembly. This key property can facilitate lipobeads’ preparation and decrease technological expenses on their scaled production. The comparison of the SEM imaging with the scanning confocal and atomic force microscopies data are also presented in the discussion. View Full-Text
Keywords: lipid bilayer; lipid vesicles; hydrogels; supramolecular assembly; lipobeads; drug delivery systems lipid bilayer; lipid vesicles; hydrogels; supramolecular assembly; lipobeads; drug delivery systems

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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Rahni, S.; Kazakov, S. Hydrogel Micro-/Nanosphere Coated by a Lipid Bilayer: Preparation and Microscopic Probing. Gels 2017, 3, 7.

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