Pure hydrophilic block copolymer vesicles with redox- and pH-cleavable crosslinks†
The self-assembly of a novel double hydrophilic block copolymer consisting of biocompatible blocks, namely pullulan-b-poly(N-vinylpyrrolidone), is presented. Completely hydrophilic spherical structures with an average apparent radius of 800 nm at increased concentrations in water are observed via dynamic light scattering as well as cryo scanning electron microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy techniques. Moreover, the pullulan block is converted to present aldehyde groups acting as anchor point for crosslinker attachments. It is demonstrated, that the oxidized self-assembled particles could be crosslinked via the bifunctional crosslinker cystamine forming dynamic covalent imine linkages with aldehyde groups. The afforded vesicles with an average diameter of 700 nm are stable upon high dilution and could be observed via cryo scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Furthermore, it is possible to cleave the crosslinking bonds with the treatment of acid or the application of a reducing agent. The responsivity is a key feature taking future applications in the biomedical sector into account.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Emerging Investigators