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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Kinetics of swelling of polyether-modified poly(acrylic acid) microgels with permanent and degradable cross-links.

Spherical particles of 50-100 mum size composed of poly(acrylic acid) networks covalently bonded to Pluronic polyether copolymers were tested for swelling in aqueous media. The microgels were cross-linked either by permanent ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA) cross-links alone or by EDGMA together with reversible disulfide or biodegradable azoaromatic cross-links. Optimum conditions for a rapid, diffusion-limited swelling of the pH- and temperature-sensitive microgels with nondegradable cross-links were found. The microgels cross-linked by disulfide groups and equilibrium-swollen in the buffer solution exhibited degradation-limited kinetics of swelling under physiological conditions, with a first-order reaction constant, k(1), linearly proportional to the concentration of reducing agents such as dithiotreitol and tris(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine (TCEP). A severalfold faster swelling in the presence of more powerful reducing agent, TCEP, was observed, indicating the chemical specificity of the microgel swelling. The reoxidation of the thiol groups into disulfide cross-links by sodium hypochlorite led to the restoration of the microgels' diameter measured prior to the reduction-reoxidation cycle, which confirms the shape memory of the microgels. Enzymatically degradable azoaromatic cross-links enabled slow microgel swelling due to degradation of the cross-links by azoreductases from the rat intestinal cecum. The low rate of swelling of the Pluronic-containing microgels can enable sustained drug release in colon-specific drug delivery.[1]


  1. Kinetics of swelling of polyether-modified poly(acrylic acid) microgels with permanent and degradable cross-links. Bromberg, L., Temchenko, M., Alakhov, V., Hatton, T.A. Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids. (2005) [Pubmed]
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