Evaluation of a Dextran-Poly(N-Isopropylacrylamide) Copolymer as a Potential Temperature-Dependent Nanocarrier for Photosensitizers with Different Properties
Thermosensitive polymer poly-N-isopropylacrylamide (PNIPAM) having a conformational transition in the interval of physiological temperatures was discussed last years as a novel drug delivery system. Chlorin e6 (Ce6) is a photosensitizer used in the photodynamic anticancer therapy. The comparative study of the encapsulation of Ce6 and its derivative, dimethylether of chlorine e6 (DME Ce6), into a water-soluble star-like PNIPAM-based copolymer to prevent the aggregation of a photosensitizer in the water medium is carried out. The photophysical properties of the copolymer/photosensitizer complexes as functions of the temperature in the region of the conformational transition of the polymer matrix have been studied and discussed. It is shown that Ce6 at low temperatures interacts weakly with the polymer phase. As a result, the absorption and fluorescence properties of Ce6 in aqueous and polymer solutions are practically identical. Fluorescence characteristics of Ce6 in a copolymer solution remain unchanged, when it is heated, which indicates the lack of a possibility for this sensitizer to bind in the bulk of the polymer phase. Following fluorescence data, all DME Ce6 molecules are bound with the polymer matrix, when a temperature is higher than the Lower Critical Solution Temperature (LCST) of the polymer. The formed complexes are quite stable. In the presence of serum proteins, the molecules of the photosensitizer remain associated for a long time with the polymer. At temperatures below LCST, DME Ce6 is not bound by the polymer. Moreover, the cooling of a solution of DME Ce6/polymer complexes leads to the rapid dissociation of photosensitizer molecules with subsequent aggregation or binding to biological structures in an aqueous medium. The obtained results show that the possibility of using the polymer PNIPAM as a temperature-dependent nanocarrier strongly depends on the properties of the loaded drug.
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