Block copolypeptide nanoparticles for the delivery of ocular therapeutics

Timo Stukenkemper, Anica Dose, Maria Caballo Gonzalez, Alexander J. J. Groenen, Sarah Hehir, Vanessa Andres-Guerrero, Rocio Herrero Vanrell, Neil R. Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Self-assembling block copolypeptides were prepared by sequential ring-opening polymerization of N-carboxyanhydride (NCA) derivatives of γ-benzyl-L-glutamic acid and ε-carbobenzyloxy-L-lysine, followed by selective deprotection of the benzyl glutamate block. The synthesized polymers had number average molecular weights close to theoretical values, and had low dispersities (ÐM =1.15-1.28). Self-assembly of the amphiphilic block copolymers into nanoparticles was achieved using the "solvent-switch" method, whereby the polymer was dissolved in THF and water and the organic solvent removed by rotary evaporation. The type of nanostructures formed varied from spherical micelles to a mixture of spherical and worm-like micelles, depending on copolymer composition. The spherical micelles had an average diameter of 43nm by dynamic light scattering, while the apparent diameter of the mixed phase system was around 200nm. Reproducibility of nanoparticle preparation was demonstrated to be excellent; almost identical DLS traces were obtained over three repeats. Following qualitative dye-solubilization experiments, the nanoparticles were loaded with the ocular anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone. Loading efficiency of the nanoparticles was 90% and the cumulative drug release was 94% over 16 d, with a 20% burst release in the first 24 h.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-145
Number of pages8
JournalMacromolecular Bioscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Block copolymers
  • Drug delivery systems
  • Nanoparticles
  • Polypeptides
  • Ring-opening polymerization

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