Dual-responsive crosslinked micelles of a multifunctional graft copolymer for drug delivery applications

Shudong Lin, Shiting Feng, Yangmiao Mo, Yuanyuan Tu, Yu Guo, Jiwen Hu, Guojun Liu, Zhiwei Zhong, Lei Miao, Hailiang Zou, Feng Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


A novel multifunctional amphiphilic graft copolymer has been synthesized consisting of a biodegradable poly(l-aspartic acid) backbone that was decorated by water-soluble poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and pH-responsive poly(N,N-diethylaminoethyl methacrylate) (PDEAEMA) side-chains as well as thiol pendant groups. This graft copolymer together with doxorubicin (DOX) formed micelles in water at pH = 10.0 with PDEAEMA and DOX acting as the core and PEG serving as the micellar corona. Upon oxidation, the thiol groups dimerized to form disulfide bonds, thus “locking in” the micellar structure. These crosslinked micelles expanded as the pH was decreased from 7.4 to 5.0 or upon the addition, at pH = 7.4, of glutathione (GSH), a thiol-containing oligopeptide that is present in cancerous cells and cleaves disulfide bonds. At pH = 5.0, GSH addition triggered the disassembly of the micelles. The expansion and disassembly of the micelles have been determined via in vitro experiments to evaluate their DOX release behavior. More importantly, the graft copolymer micelles could enter cells by means of endocytosis and deliver DOX to the nuclei of ovarian cancer BEL-7402 cells. Thus, this polymer and its micelles are promising candidates for drug delivery applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1536-1546
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part A: Polymer Chemistry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 1
Externally publishedYes


  • BEL-7402 cells
  • amphiphilic graft copolymer
  • crosslinked micelles
  • drug delivery
  • dual-responsive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Dual-responsive crosslinked micelles of a multifunctional graft copolymer for drug delivery applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this