pH-Responsive hyperbranched polypeptides based on Schiff bases as drug carriers for reducing toxicity of chemotherapy†
Polymeric micelles have great potential in drug delivery systems because of their multifunctional adjustability, excellent stability, and biocompatibility. To further increase the drug loading efficiency and controlled release ability, a pH-responsive hyperbranched copolymer methoxy poly(ethylene glycol)-b-polyethyleneimine-poly(Nε-Cbz-L-lysine) (MPEG-PEI-PBLL) was synthesized successfully. MPEG-PEI-NH2 was synthesized to initiate the ring-opening polymerization of benzyloxycarbonyl substituted lysine N-carboxyanhydride (Z-lys NCA). The introduction of Schiff bases in the polymer make it possible to respond to the variation of pH values, which cleaved at pH 5.0 while stable at pH 7.4. As the polymer was amphiphilic, MPEG-PEI-PBLL could self-assemble into micelles. Owing to the introduction of PEI, which make the copolymer hyperbranched, the pH-responsive micelles could efficiently encapsulate theranostic agents, such as doxorubicin (DOX) for chemotherapy and NIRF dye DiD for in vivo near-infrared (NIR) imaging. The drug delivery system prolonged the drug circulation time in blood and allowed the drug accumulate effectively at the tumor site. Following the guidance, the DOX was applied in chemotherapy to achieve cancer therapeutic efficiency. All the results demonstrate that the polymer micelles have great potential for cancer theranostics.