Reversibly self-assembled pH-responsive PEG-p(CL-g-TMC) polymersomes

Pascal L. W. Welzen, Sydney W. Martinez Ciriano, Shoupeng Cao, Alexander F. Mason, Imke A. B. Welzen‐Pijpers, Jan C. M. van Hest

Published: 2021


Polymersomes have gained much interest within the biomedical field as drug delivery systems due to their ability to transport and protect cargo from the harsh environment inside the body. For an improved drug efficacy, control over cargo release is however also an important factor to take into account. An often employed method is to incorporate pH sensitive groups in the vesicle membrane, which induce disassembly and content release when the particles have reached a target site in the body with the appropriate pH, such as the acidic microenvironment of tumor tissue or the endosome. In this paper, biodegradable poly(ethylene glycol)‐poly(caprolactone‐gradient‐trimethylene carbonate)‐based polymeric vesicles have been developed with disassembly features at mild acidic conditions. Modifying the polymer backbone with imidazole moieties results in vesicle disassembly upon protonation due to the lowered pH. Furthermore, upon increasing the pH efficient re‐assembly into vesicles is observed due to the switchable amphiphilic nature of the polymer. When this re‐assembly process is conducted in presence of cargo, enhanced encapsulation is achieved. Furthermore, the potency of the polymeric system for future biomedical applications such as adjuvant delivery is demonstrated.

Full Access Link: Journal of Polymer Science