Role of branching of hydrophilic domain on physicochemical properties of amphiphilic macromolecules
A novel series of amphiphilic macromolecules (AMs) composed of a sugar backbone, aliphatic chains, and branched, hydrophilic poly(oligoethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate (POEGMA) were developed for drug delivery applications. The branched, hydrophilic domains (POEGMA homopolymers with one hydroxyl group) were prepared via atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) of oligo(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate (OEGMA) monomers using 2-hydroxyethyl-2-bromoisobutyrate (HEBiB) as an initiator and copper bromide/bipyridine (CuBr/Bpy) as the catalyst system. To form the amphiphilic structures, the branched POEGMAs were coupled to hydrophobic domains that were formed via acylation of a sugar backbone. The impact of branching in the hydrophilic domain was investigated by comparing the AMs' solution and thermal properties with those of the linear counterparts. Although these highly branched AMs showed similar critical micelle concentration (CMC) values as compared to linear analogues, they possessed quite low glass transition (Tg) temperatures. Consequently, these novel AMs with branched hydrophilic domain combine the desirable thermal properties of POEGMA with favorable solution properties of amphiphilic architectures, which make them suitable for injectable drug delivery systems.