Stability of Self-Assembled Polymeric Micelles in Serum

The stability of polymeric nanoparticles in serum is critical to their use in drug delivery where dilution after intravenous injection often results in nanoparticle disassembly and drug unloading; however, few investigate this in biologically relevant media. To gain greater insight into nanoparticle stability in blood, the stability of self-assembled polymeric micelles of poly(d,l-lactide-co-2-methyl-2-carboxytrimethylene carbonate)-g-poly(ethylene glycol), P(LA-co-TMCC)-g-PEG, were tested in both serum and individual serum protein solutions. By encapsulating Förster resonance energy transfer pairs and following their release by fluorescence, these micelles demonstrated excellent thermodynamic and kinetic stability in the presence of serum. Further analyses by fast protein liquid chromatography and dynamic light scattering confirmed these data. Moreover, these micelles are compatible with red blood cells, as shown by a hemolysis assay. The stability and compatibility demonstrated in blood suggest that these micelles may be stable in vivo, which is critical for intravenous drug delivery applications. This comprehensive approach to understanding micelle stability and compatibility is broadly applicable.