Copolymers containing carbohydrates and other biomolecules: design, synthesis and applications
Glycopolymers are synthetic polymers containing pendant carbohydrate groups. Other biological compounds can be incorporated into glycopolymers to prepare both random and block copolymers aimed at bio-related applications: boronic acid can be introduced as a functional group to obtain crosslinked hydrogels; cholesterol and bile acids can be introduced to render the polymers more hydrophobic for the formation of micelles. Sugar-containing block copolymers with biocompatible blocks such as polypeptides, poly(ethylene glycol), poly(lactic acid) and poly(ε-caprolactone) were also prepared for potential application in drug carriers. These glycopolymers interact with lectins or lectin-containing surfaces as natural carbohydrate mimics. This review highlights the recent progress in the synthesis of random or block glycopolymers. Examples of the applications of glycopolymers in the separation and removal of toxins and bacteria, tumor cell recognition and glucose-responsive insulin delivery are presented and discussed.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Review Articles