Probing the Biocompatibility and Immune Cell Association of Chiral, Water-Soluble, Bottlebrush Poly(2-oxazoline)s

David Pizzi, James Humphries, Joshua P. Morrow, Ayaat M. Mahmoud, Nicholas L. Fletcher, Stefan E. Sonderegger, Craig A. Bell, Kristofer J. Thurecht, Kristian Kempe

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Poly(2-oxazoline)s (POx) have received substantial attention as poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) alternatives in the biomedical field due to their biocompatibility, high functionality, and ease of synthesis. While POx have demonstrated strong potential as biomaterial constituents, the larger family of poly(cyclic imino ether)s (PCIE) to which POx belongs remains widely underexplored. One highly interesting sub-class of PCIE is poly(2,4-disubstituted-2-oxazoline)s (PdOx), which bear an additional substituent on the backbone of the polymers' repeating units. This allows fine-tuning of the hydrophilic/hydrophobic balance and renders the PdOx chiral when enantiopure 2-oxazoline monomers are used. Herein, we synthesize new water-soluble (R-/S-/RS-) poly(oligo(2-ethyl-4-methyl-2-oxazoline) methacrylate) (P(OEtMeOxMA)) bottlebrushes and compare them to well-established PEtOx- and PEG-based bottlebrush controls in terms of their physical properties, hydrophilicity, and biological behavior. We reveal that the P(OEtMeOxMA) bottlebrushes show a lower critical solution temperature behavior at a physiologically relevant temperature (∼44 °C) and that the enantiopure (R-/S-) variants display a chiral secondary structure. Importantly, we demonstrate the biocompatibility of the chiral P(OEtMeOxMA) bottlebrushes through cellular association and mouse biodistribution studies and show that these systems display higher immune cell association and organ accumulation than the two control polymers. These novel materials possess properties that hold promise for applications in the field of nanomedicine and may be beneficial carriers for therapeutics that require enhanced cellular association and immune cell interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246–257
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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