Design of systems based on 4-armed star-shaped polyacids for indomethacin delivery
The 4-armed star-shaped copolymers containing methyl (meth)acrylate (MMA, MA) and (meth)acrylic acid (MAA, AA) units were synthesized by ATRP with the use of pentaerythritol (PTL) derivatives as tetrafunctional initiators and by post-polymerization modification to deprotect acidic units. The resultant MMA/MAA, MMA/AA, and MA/MAA based stars were varied by composition of arms using various initial proportions of comonomer pairs. The amphiphilic copolymers were self-assembled by dialysis or solvent evaporation methods into particles, which were also loaded with indomethacin (IMC). The sizes of polymeric aggregates were in the range of 100–200 nm, whereas drug loading efficiency was 10–85%. The in vitro release of IMC in phosphate buffer solution (PBS) demonstrated a higher rate of drug release at pH 5.0 than at 7.4. Drug release profiles can be adjusted by the content of the hydrophilic fraction (15–98%) and distribution of acidic units among arm chains (statistical vs. gradient vs. reverse gradient) as indicated by the broad range of the maximum drug release (10–85%).