Glutathione-triggered disassembly of isothermally responsive polymer nanoparticles obtained by nanoprecipitation of hydrophilic polymers†
The encapsulation and selective delivery of therapeutic compounds within polymeric nanoparticles offers hope for the treatment of a variety of diseases. Traditional approaches to trigger selective cargo release typically rely on polymer degradation which is not always sensitive to the biological location of a material. In this report, we prepare nanoparticles from thermoresponsive polymers with a ‘solubility release catch’ at the chain-end. This release catch is exclusively activated in the presence of intracellular glutathione, triggering an ‘isothermal’ response and promoting a change in polymer solubility. This solubility switch leads to specific and rapid nanoparticle disassembly, release of encapsulated cargo and produces completely soluble polymeric side-products.