Fluorescent amphiphilic heterografted comb polymers comprising biocompatible PLA and PEtOx side chains

I. Yildirim, T. Bus, M. Sahn, T. Yildirim, D. Kalden, S. Hoeppener, A. Traeger, M. Westerhausen, C. Weber, U.S. Schubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A series of amphiphilic heterografted comb polymers comprising various ratios of oligomeric polylactide (PLA) and poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline) (PEtOx) side chains was synthesized via the grafting-through method employing the reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer copolymerization. Two well-defined PLA macromonomers were prepared via ring opening polymerization (ROP) of L-lactide using a calcium-based pre-catalyst, pyrenebutanol as an initiator and methacryloyl chloride as an end-capping agent. The PEtOx macromonomer was obtained from the cationic ROP of EtOx and end-capping with methacrylic acid. The amphiphilic comb polymers self-assembled in aqueous solution to form spherical and worm-like micelles, vesicles and more complex morphologies as a function of the composition, as is evident from dynamic light scattering and cryo-transmission electron microscopy studies. All polymers were found to be non-toxic to L929 cells up to a concentration of 200 μg mL−1. Cellular uptake studies with HEK-293 cells by live cell confocal fluorescence microscopy revealed localization in the cytosol after 4 h and suggest an energy-driven cellular uptake mechanism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6064-6074
JournalPolymer Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2016


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