Experimental and theoretical investigations in stimuli responsive dendrimer-based assemblies
Stimuli-responsive macromolecular assemblies are of great interest in drug delivery applications, as it holds the promise to keep the drug molecules sequestered under one set of conditions and release them under another. The former set of conditions could represent circulation, while the latter could represent a disease location. Over the past two decades, sizeable contributions to this field have come from dendrimers, which along with their monodispersity, provide great scope for structural modifications at the molecular level. In this paper, we briefly discuss the various synthetic strategies that have been developed so far to obtain a range of functional dendrimers. We then discuss the design strategies utilized to introduce stimuli responsive elements within the dendritic architecture. The stimuli itself are broadly classified into two categories, viz. extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stimuli are externally induced such as temperature and light variations, while intrinsic stimuli involve physiological aberrations such as variations in pH, redox conditions, proteins and enzyme concentrations in pathological tissues. Furthermore, the unique support from molecular dynamics (MD) simulations has been highlighted. MD simulations have helped back many of the observations made from assembly formation properties to rationalized the mechanism of drug release and this has been illustrated with discussions on G4 PPI (Poly propylene imine) dendrimers and biaryl facially amphiphilic dendrimers. The synergy that exists between experimental and theoretical studies open new avenues for the use of dendrimers as versatile drug delivery systems.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Dendritic Polymers for Smart Drug Delivery Applications