Nitrile-Functionalized Poly(2-oxazoline)s as a Versatile Platform for the Development of Polymer Therapeutics

Zihnil A.I. Mazrad, Baptiste Schelle, Joseph A. Nicolazzo, Meike N. Leiske, Kristian Kempe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, polymers bearing reactive groups have received significant interest for biomedical applications. Numerous functional polymer platforms have been introduced, which allow for the preparation of materials with tailored properties via post-polymerization modifications. However, because of their reactivity, many functional groups are not compatible with the initial polymerization. The nitrile group is a highly interesting and relatively inert functionality that has mainly received attention in radical polymerizations. In this Article, a nitrile-functionalized 2-oxazoline monomer (2-(4-nitrile-butyl)-2-oxazoline, BuNiOx) is introduced, and its compatibility with the cationic ring-opening polymerization is demonstrated. Subsequently, the versatility of nitrile-functionalized poly(2-oxazoline)s (POx) is presented. To this end, diverse (co)polymers are synthesized and characterized by nuclear resonance spectroscopy, size-exclusion chromatography, and mass spectrometry. Amphiphilic block copolymers are shown to efficiently encapsulate the hydrophobic drug curcumin (CUR) in aqueous solution, and the anti-inflammatory effect of the CUR-containing nanostructures is presented in BV-2 microglia. Furthermore, the availability of the BuNiOx repeating units for post-polymerization modifications with hydroxylamine to yield amidoxime (AO)-functionalized POx is demonstrated. These AO-containing POx were successfully applied for the complexation of Fe(III) in a quantitative manner. In addition, AO-functionalized POx were shown to release nitric oxide intracellularly in BV-2 microglia. Thus nitrile-functionalized POx represent a promising and robust platform for the design of polymer therapeutics for a wide range of applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4618-4632
Number of pages15
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2021

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