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Polyglycerol is an attractive hydrophilic building block of amphiphilic copolymers for biomedical and pharmaceutical applications due to its biocompatibility, facile chemical modification, and anti-fouling activity. Herein we introduce theranostic nanoemulsions incorporating anti-cancer therapeutic and contrast agents using linear polyglycerol-poly(ε-caprolactone) diblock copolymers (PG-b-PCL). Lipiodol is used as a core oil that dissolves paclitaxel and serves as a contrast agent for computer tomography (CT). PG-b-PCL is synthesized by three-step processes: polymerization of ethoxyethyl glycerol ether; ring-opening polymerization of ε-caprolactone; and deprotection of the PEEGE block. In vitro cytotoxicity of the polyglycerolated lipiodol nanoemulsions is demonstrated using HeLa ovarian cancer cells. The applicability of the prepared nanoemulsions as a contrast agent for CT imaging is also evaluated using micro-CT. Three compositions of PG-b-PCL with different block lengths are synthesized to prepare nanoemulsions. The polyglycerolated lipiodol nanoemulsions exhibit excellent anti-cancer activities, while placebo nanoemulsions have no significant cytotoxicity under the same condition. Micro-CT imaging of the nanoemulsions confirms the ability of nanoemulsions as a contrast agent. This study suggests that PG-b-PCL is a promising polymeric emulsifier for effective stabilization and surface functionalization of drug delivery nanocarriers for therapeutic and imaging agents.


Trang Huyen Le Kim, Hwiseok Jun, Jin Ho Kim, Keunchil Park, Jee Seon Kim, Yoon Sung Nam. Lipiodol nanoemulsions stabilized with polyglycerol-polycaprolactone block copolymers for theranostic applications. Biomaterials research. 2017;21:21

PMID: 29075510

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