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Synthesis of Biocompatible PEG-Based Star Polymers with Cationic and Degradable Core for siRNA Delivery

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journal contribution
posted on 10.10.2011, 00:00 by Hong Y. Cho, Abiraman Srinivasan, Joanna Hong, Eric Hsu, Shiguang Liu, Arun Shrivats, Dan Kwak, Andrew K. Bohaty, Hyun-jong Paik, Jeffrey O. Hollinger, Krzysztof Matyjaszewski
Star polymers with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) arms and a degradable cationic core were synthesized by the atom transfer radical copolymerization (ATRP) of poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate macromonomer (PEGMA), 2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate (DMAEMA), and a disulfide dimethacrylate (cross-linker, SS) via an “arm-first” approach. The star polymers had a diameter ∼15 nm and were degraded under redox conditions by glutathione treatment into individual polymeric chains due to cleavage of the disulfide cross-linker, as confirmed by dynamic light scattering. The star polymers were cultured with mouse calvarial preosteoblast-like cells, embryonic day 1, subclone 4 (MC3T3-E1.4) to determine biocompatibility. Data suggest star polymers were biocompatible, with ≥80% cell viability after 48 h of incubation even at high concentration (800 μg/mL). Zeta potential values varied with N/P ratio confirming complexation with siRNA. Successful cellular uptake of the star polymers in MC3T3-E1.4 cells was observed by confocal microscopy and flow cytometry after 24 h of incubation.