Synthesis and Characterization of Novel Polyethers and Polypeptides for Use in Biomedicine and Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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Virginia Tech

Copolymers that contain terminal or pendent functional groups have great potential in the biomedical area due to their biocompatibility and tunable properties.1-3 In this research, two vinyl functional epoxides, vinyldimethylsilylpropyl glycidyl ether (VSiGE) and ethoxy vinyl glycidyl ether (EVGE), were synthesized. These heterobifunctional monomers were polymerizable via the epoxide groups and can be functionalized via thiol-ene reactions through the pendent vinyl groups. A series of amphiphilic block copolyethers based on poly(ethylene oxide) and poly(1,2-butylene oxide) that incorporate VSiGE or EVGE were synthesized and characterized. The vinyl ether and vinyl silane functional groups were functionalized after polymerization and the functional polymers formed pH-sensitive micelles in aqueous medium. The copolyethers were loaded with ritonavir yielding well-controlled nanoparticles.

Poly(L-glutamic acid) is comprised of naturally occurring L-glutamic acid repeating units that are linked together with amide bonds. In this research, we have prepared magnetic block ionomer complexes based on poly(ethylene oxide)-b-poly(L-glutamic acid) copolymers. This is of interest due to the biocompatibility and biodegradable nature of the poly(L-glutamic acid) component of the backbone. Allyl- and thiol-functional poly(ethylene oxide)-b-poly(L-glutamic acid) copolymers were also synthesized and coated onto the surface of iron oxide nanoparticles. Allyl- and thiol-tipped single particles were reacted with each other to prepare magnetic clusters. Transverse relaxivities of the clusters were found to be significantly higher than that of single particles.

One major problem in commercial development of therapeutic proteins is their poor transport across cellular membranes and biological barriers such as the blood-brain barrier (BBB). One solution to this problem is to modify proteins with amphiphilic block copolymers such as PEO-b-PPO-b-PEO, Pluronics®. However, it isn't possible to independently tune the two PEO block lengths with commercial Pluronics® since a difunctional PPO macroinitator is utilized to grow both PEO blocks simultaneously (HO-EOn-b-POm-b-EOn-OH). Another challenge is introducing functional group which allows post-polymerization functionalization for specific applications. In this study, a series of heterobifunctional asymmetric amino-EOn1-b-POm-b-EOn2-OH block copolymers (APs) with different molecular weights of each block were synthesized and the amino terminal group was conjugated to an antioxidant enzyme, Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1). The conjugates were characterized and their cellular uptake was investigated.

functional polyethers, poly(glutamic acid), iron oxide, poly(ethylene oxide), poly(propylene oxide), heterobifunctional polyethers, superoxide dismutase