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Open AccessArticle

Thermoresponsive Poly(ε-Caprolactone)-Poly(Ethylene/Propylene Glycol) Copolymers as Injectable Hydrogels for Cell Therapies

1
Applied Chemistry and Translational Biomaterials (ACTB) Group, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia 5000, Australia
2
Cooperative Research Centre for Cell Therapy Manufacturing, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia 5000, Australia
3
Molecular Immunology, Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia
4
Future Industries Institute, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes, South Australia 5095, Australia
5
Department of Gastroenterology, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, SA Health, Adelaide, South Australia 5006, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2020, 12(2), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12020367
Received: 28 November 2019 / Revised: 10 January 2020 / Accepted: 16 January 2020 / Published: 7 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Collection Design and Synthesis of Polymers)
Injectable, thermoresponsive hydrogels are promising candidates for the delivery, maintenance and controlled release of adoptive cell therapies. Therefore, there is significant interest in the development of cytocompatible and biodegradable thermoresponsive hydrogels with appropriate gelling characteristics. Towards this end, a series of thermoresponsive copolymers consisting of poly(caprolactone) (PCL), poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and poly(propylene glycol) (PPG) segments, with various PEG:PPG ratios, were synthesised via ring-opening polymerisation (ROP) of ε-caprolactone and epoxy-functionalised PEG and PPG derivatives. The resultant PCL–PEG–PPG copolymers were characterised via proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy, gel permeation chromatography (GPC) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The thermoresponsive characteristics of the aqueous copolymer solutions at various concentrations was investigated using the inversion method. Whilst all of the copolymers displayed thermoresponsive properties, the copolymer with a ratio of 1:2 PEG:PPG exhibited an appropriate sol–gel transition (28 °C) at a relatively low concentration (10 wt%), and remained a gel at 37 °C. Furthermore, the copolymers were shown to be enzymatically degradable in the presence of lipases and could be used for the encapsulation of CD4+ T-cell lymphocytes. These results demonstrate that the thermoresponsive PCL–PEG–PPG hydrogels may be suitable for use as an adoptive cell therapy (ACT) delivery vehicle. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermoresponsive; hydrogel; poly(ethylene glycol); poly(propylene glycol); polycaprolactone; adoptive cell therapy; ACT; injectable; delivery; gelation; LCST thermoresponsive; hydrogel; poly(ethylene glycol); poly(propylene glycol); polycaprolactone; adoptive cell therapy; ACT; injectable; delivery; gelation; LCST
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MDPI and ACS Style

Brewer, K.; Gundsambuu, B.; Facal Marina, P.; Barry, S.C.; Blencowe, A. Thermoresponsive Poly(ε-Caprolactone)-Poly(Ethylene/Propylene Glycol) Copolymers as Injectable Hydrogels for Cell Therapies. Polymers 2020, 12, 367.

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