Design of fluorinated hyperbranched polyether copolymers for 19F MRI nanotheranostics†
Fluorinated hyperbranched polyether copolymers of tuneable composition and architecture were designed and synthesized to develop drug nanocarriers as well as 19F MRI contrast agents. The performance of these nanomaterials in terms of nanoparticle formation and drug (dexamethasone) loading, as well as 19F-MRI detectability, was evaluated. These polymers were obtained through controlled ring opening multibranching polymerisation, and the presence of pendant fluorinated groups was obtained by copolymerisation of glycidol and the fluorinated glycidyl ether 2-[(2,2,2-trifluoroethoxy)methyl]oxirane. By varying polymer composition and architecture during the synthesis, we controlled the key properties of the nanomaterials, including the fluorine content, drug loading, nanoparticle size, and MRI signal. The macromolecules were cytocompatible, with the ability to deliver dexamethasone on damaged kidney glomerular cells in vitro; therefore they hold promise as new generation 19F MRI nanotheranostics.