Effect of Radical Polymerization Method on Pharmaceutical Properties of Π Electron-Stabilized HPMA-Based Polymeric Micelles

Armin Azadkhah Shalmani, Zaheer Ahmed, Maryam Sheybanifard, Alec Wang, Marek Weiler, Eva Miriam Buhl, Geir Klinkenberg, Ruth Schmid, Wim Hennink, Fabian Kiessling, Josbert M. Metselaar, Twan Lammers, Quim Peña, and Yang Shi

Published: 2022


Polymeric micelles are among the most extensively used drug delivery systems. Key properties of micelles, such as size, size distribution, drug loading, and drug release kinetics, are crucial for proper therapeutic performance. Whether polymers from more controlled polymerization methods produce micelles with more favorable properties remains elusive. To address this question, we synthesized methoxy poly(ethylene glycol)-b-(N-(2-benzoyloxypropyl)methacrylamide) (mPEG-b-p(HPMAm-Bz)) block copolymers of three different comparable molecular weights (∼9, 13, and 20 kDa), via both conventional free radical (FR) and reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization. The polymers were subsequently employed to prepare empty and paclitaxel-loaded micelles. While FR polymers had relatively high dispersities (Đ ∼ 1.5–1.7) compared to their RAFT counterparts (Đ ∼ 1.1–1.3), they formed micelles with similar pharmaceutical properties (e.g., size, size distribution, critical micelle concentration, cytotoxicity, and drug loading and retention). Our findings suggest that pharmaceutical properties of mPEG-b-p(HPMAm-Bz) micelles do not depend on the synthesis route of their constituent polymers.

Full Access Link: Biomacromolecules