Synthesis and Characterization of Poly(lactide) Functional Oligomers and Block Copolymers
Amphiphilic block copolymers consisting of poly(ethylene oxide) and poly(lactide) have great potential for formulating drug delivery systems. Our approach was to synthesize poly(ethylene oxide-b-D,L-lactide), (PEO-b-PDLLA), block copolymers with controlled molecular weights and good functionality on the poly(ethylene oxide) end for the design of potential core-shell delivery vehicles for HIV drugs. PEO-b-PDLLA block copolymer was used as a polymeric nanocarrier to encapsulate the HIV protease inhibitor, Ritonavir, within magnetite nanoparticles. Well-defined multifunctional polymeric nanoparticles with controlled sizes and size distributions were fabricated by rapid nanoprecipitation using blends of the PEO-b-PDLLA block copolymer with poly(L-lactide), (PLLA) homopolymer. Heterobifunctional PEO oligomers were directly prepared by initiating ethylene oxide with functional alcohols bearing vinylsilane, vinylether and maleimide moieties to provide appropriate end groups for conjugating targeting ligands. The polyethers with narrow molecular weight distributions were utilized as macroinitiators for the synthesis of poly(lactide) block. Heterobifunctional diblock copolymers possessing carboxylic acids were prepared from ene-thiol addition reaction of mercaptoacetic acid across the vinyl group on the PEO end, while preserving the hydroxyl functionality on the other end. Additionally, PDLLAs bearing maleimide functionality with controlled molecular weights were synthesized using maleimide functional initiator. End group modification was performed via Michael addition using cysteamine hydrochloride to introduce an amino group over the vinyl bond. The resulting carboxylic acid functional PEO-b-PDLLA diblock copolymers, and amino functional PDLLAs are potential biocompatible polymers that can be utilized to encapsulate an array of bioactive molecules, targeting ligands.