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Surface Distribution and Biophysicochemical Properties of Polymeric Micelles Bearing Gemini Cationic and Hydrophilic Groups

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posted on 28.12.2016, 00:00 by Zhicheng Pan, Danxuan Fang, Nijia Song, Yuanqing Song, Mingming Ding, Jiehua Li, Feng Luo, Hong Tan, Qiang Fu
Polymeric micelles containing cationic gemini quaternary ammonium (GQA) groups have shown enhanced cellular uptake and efficient drug delivery, while the incorporation of poly­(ethylene glycol) (PEG) corona can potentially reduce the absorption of cationic carriers by opsonic proteins and subsequent uptake by mononuclear phagocytic system (MPS). To understand the interactions of GQA and PEG groups and their effects on the biophysicochemical characteristics of nanocarriers, a series of polyurethane micelles containing GQA and different molecular weights of PEG were prepared and carefully characterized. It was found that the GQA and PEG groups are unevenly distributed on the micellar surface to form two kinds of hydrophilic domains. As a result, the particle surface with some defects cannot be completely shielded by the PEG corona. Despite this, the longer PEG chains with a brush conformation provide superior stabilization and steric repulsion against the absorption of proteins and, thus, can reduce the cytotoxicity, protein absorption, and MPS uptake of micelles to some extent. This study provides a new understanding on the interactions between PEG chains and cationic groups and a guideline for the design and fabrication of safe and effective drug delivery systems.