Interactions between poly(2-ethylacrylic acid) and lipid bilayer membranes: Effects of cholesterol and grafted poly(ethylene glycol)
The exchange of the protonatable polymer, poly(2-ethylacrylic acid) (PEAA), has been studied with vesicle membranes containing cholesterol from 0 to 60 mol% or PEG2000-lipid (5 mol%). The release of an entrapped dye from 100 nm extruded liposomes was used as an assay for membrane perturbation by the polymer as a function of pH. The inclusion of cholesterol was found to reduce the pH at which the polymer caused release of the dye from the lipid vesicles, and the degree of polymer protonation (i.e., degree of hydrophobicity) correlated well with the increase in elastic expansion modulus of the vesicle bilayer. The results are discussed in terms of a balance between polymer solubility and membrane expansion. With respect to the PEG barrier, the presence of 5 mol% PEG2000, which represents full surface coverage, did not prevent PEAA from inducing contents release, demonstrating that highly hydrated polymeric layers are not effective barriers for other water soluble polymers, and may point to some association between the two polymers.