The presented drug delivery polymeric systems (DDS), i.e., conjugates and self-assemblies, based on grafted and star-shaped polymethacrylates have been studied for the last few years in our group. This minireview is focused on the relationship of polymer structure to drug conjugation/entrapment efficiency and release capability. Both graft and linear polymers containing trimethylammonium groups showed the ability to release the pharmaceutical anions by ionic exchange, but in aqueous solution they were also self-assembled into nanoparticles with encapsulated nonionic drugs. Star-shaped polymers functionalized with ionizable amine/carboxylic groups were investigated for drug conjugation via ketimine/amide linkers. However, only the conjugates of polybases were water-soluble, giving opportunity for release studies, whereas the self-assembling polyacidic stars were encapsulated with the model drugs. Depending on the type of drug loading in the polymer matrix, their release rates were ordered as follows: Physical ≥ ionic > covalent. The studies indicated that the well-defined ionic polymethacrylates, including poly(ionic liquid)s, are advantageous for designing macromolecular carriers due to the variety of structural parameters, which are efficient for tuning of drug loading and release behavior in respect to the specific drug interactions.
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