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1.  Drug-Induced Morphology Switch in Drug Delivery Systems Based on Poly(2-oxazoline)s 
ACS Nano  2014;8(3):2686-2696.
Defined aggregates of polymers such as polymeric micelles are of great importance in the development of pharmaceutical formulations. The amount of drug that can be formulated by a drug delivery system is an important issue, and most drug delivery systems suffer from their relatively low drug-loading capacity. However, as the loading capacities increase, i.e., promoted by good drug–polymer interactions, the drug may affect the morphology and stability of the micellar system. We investigated this effect in a prominent system with very high capacity for hydrophobic drugs and found extraordinary stability as well as a profound morphology change upon incorporation of paclitaxel into micelles of amphiphilic ABA poly(2-oxazoline) triblock copolymers. The hydrophilic blocks A comprised poly(2-methyl-2-oxazoline), while the middle blocks B were either just barely hydrophobic poly(2-n-butyl-2-oxazoline) or highly hydrophobic poly(2-n-nonyl-2-oxazoline). The aggregation behavior of both polymers and their formulations with varying paclitaxel contents were investigated by means of dynamic light scattering, atomic force microscopy, (cryogenic) transmission electron microscopy, and small-angle neutron scattering. While without drug, wormlike micelles were present, after incorporation of small amounts of drugs only spherical morphologies remained. Furthermore, the much more hydrophobic poly(2-n-nonyl-2-oxazoline)-containing triblock copolymer exhibited only half the capacity for paclitaxel than the poly(2-n-butyl-2-oxazoline)-containing copolymer along with a lower stability. In the latter, contents of paclitaxel of 8 wt % or higher resulted in a raspberry-like micellar core.
PMCID: PMC4004286  PMID: 24548260
amphiphilic poly(2-oxazoline)s; paclitaxel; drug delivery; rod-to-sphere transition
2.  Polypeptoid Brushes by Surface-Initiated Polymerization of N-Substituted Glycine N-Carboxyanhydrides 
Polypeptoid brushes were synthesized by surface-initiated polymerization of N-substituted glycine N-carboxyanhydrides (NNCAs) on self assembled amine monolayers. Using the presented grafting from approach, polypeptoid brush thicknesses of approx. 40 nm could be obtained as compared previously reported brush thicknesses of 4 nm. Moreover, hydrophilic, hydrophobic and amphiphilic polymer brushes were realized which are expected to have valuable applic-tions as non-fouling surfaces and as model or references systems for surface grafted polypeptides.
PMCID: PMC3932499  PMID: 23663172
sarcosine; N-carboxyanhydride; NCA; polypeptoid; polymer brush; surface-initiated polymerization
3.  Conjugates of Superoxide Dismutase 1 with Amphiphilic Poly(2-oxazoline) Block Copolymers for Enhanced Brain Delivery: Synthesis, Characterization and Evaluation in vitro and in vivo 
Molecular pharmaceutics  2012;10(1):360-377.
Superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) efficiently catalyzes dismutation of superoxide but its poor delivery to the target sites in the body, such as brain, hinders its use as a therapeutic agent for superoxide-associated disorders. Here to enhance the delivery of SOD1 across the blood brain barrier (BBB) and in neurons the enzyme was conjugated with poly(2-oxazoline) (POx) block copolymers, P(MeOx-b-BuOx) or P(EtOx-b-BuOx), comprised of 1) hydrophilic 2-methyl-2-oxazoline (MeOx) or 2-ethyl-2-oxazoline (EtOx) and 2) hydrophobic 2-butyl-2-oxazoline (BuOx) repeating units. The conjugates contained from 2 to 3 POx chains joining the protein amino groups via cleavable -(ss)- or non-cleavable –(cc)- linkers at the BuOx block terminus. They retained 30% to 50% of initial SOD1 activity, were conformationally and thermally stable and assembled in 8 or 20 nm aggregates in aqueous solution. They had little if any toxicity to CATH.a neurons and displayed enhanced uptake in these neurons as compared to native or PEGylated SOD1. Of the two conjugates, SOD1-(cc)-P(MeOx-b-BuOx) and SOD1-(cc)-P(EtOx-b-BuOx) compared, the latter was entering cells 4 to 7 times faster and at 6 h colocalized predominantly with endoplasmic reticulum (41 ± 3%) and mitochondria (21 ± 2%). Colocalization with endocytosis markers and pathway inhibition assays suggested that it was internalized through lipid raft/caveolae, also employed by the P(EtOx-b-BuOx) copolymer. The SOD activity in cell lysates and ability to attenuate angiotensin II (Ang II)-induced superoxide in live cells were increased for this conjugate compared to SOD1 and PEG-SOD1. Studies in mice showed that SOD1-POx had ca. 1.75 times longer half-life in blood than native SOD1 (28.4 vs 15.9 min) and after i.v. administration penetrated the BBB significantly faster than albumin to accumulate in brain parenchyma. The conjugate maintained high stability both in serum and in brain (77% vs. 84% at 1 h post injection). Its amount taken up by the brain reached a maximum value of 0.08%ID/g (percent of the injected dose taken up per gram of brain) 4 h post injection. The entry of SOD1-(cc)-P(EtOx-b-BuOx) to the brain was mediated by a non-saturable mechanism. Altogether, SOD1-POx conjugates are promising candidates as macromolecular antioxidant therapies for superoxide-associated diseases such as Ang II induced neuro-cardiovascular diseases.
PMCID: PMC3570234  PMID: 23163230
superoxide dismutase 1; polyoxazoline; reactive oxygen species; oxidative stress; neurons; blood brain barrier; polymer therapeutics; endocytosis; pharmacokinetics
4.  Synergistic Combinations of Multiple Chemotherapeutic Agents in High Capacity Poly(2-oxazoline) Micelles 
Molecular pharmaceutics  2012;9(8):2302-2313.
Many effective drugs for cancer treatment are poorly water-soluble. In combination chemotherapy, needed excipients in additive formulations are often toxic and restrict their applications in clinical intervention. Here, we report on amphiphilic poly(2-oxazoline)s (POx) micelles as a promising high capacity delivery platform for multi-drug cancer chemotherapy. A variety of binary and ternary drugs combinations of paclitaxel (PTX), docetaxel (DTX), 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG), etoposide (ETO) and bortezomib (BTZ) were solubilized in defined polymeric micelles achieving unprecedented high total loading capacities of up to 50 wt.% drug per final formulation. Multi-drug loaded POx micelles showed enhanced stability in comparison to single-drug loaded micelles. Drug ratio dependent synergistic cytotoxicity of micellar ETO/17-AAG was observed in MCF-7 cancer cells and of micellar BTZ/17-AAG in MCF-7, PC3, MDA-MB-231 and HepG2 cells.
PMCID: PMC3534837  PMID: 22681126
block copolymer; combination therapy; drug delivery; drug formulation; nanomedicine; polymeric micelles; synergistic cytotoxicity
5.  Poly(2-oxazoline)s as Polymer Therapeutics 
Macromolecular rapid communications  2012;33(19):1613-1631.
Poly(2-oxazoline)s (POx) are currently discussed as an upcoming platform for biomaterials design and especially for polymer therapeutics. POx meets several requirements needed for the development of next-generation polymer therapeutics such as biocompatibility, high modulation of solubility, variation of size, architecture as well as chemical functionality. Although in the early 1990s first and promising POx-based systems were presented but the field lay dormant for almost two decades. Only very recently, POx based polymer therapeutics came back into the focus of very intensive research. In this review, we give an overview on the chemistry and physicochemical properties of POx and summarize the research of POx-protein conjugates, POx-drug conjugates, POx-based polyplexes and POx micelles for drug delivery.
PMCID: PMC3608391  PMID: 22865555
polyoxazoline; biomaterial; protein; gene delivery; drug delivery; polymer-conjugates; nanomedicine; polymer therapeutic; cancer
7.  Structure-property relationship in cytotoxicity and cell uptake of poly(2-oxazoline) amphiphiles 
The family of poly(2-oxazoline)s (POx) is being increasingly investigated in the context of biomedical applications. We tested the relative cytotoxicity of POx and were able to confirm that these polymers are typically not cytotoxic even at high concentrations. Furthermore, we report structure-uptake relationships of a series of amphiphilic POx block copolymers that have different architectures, molar mass and chain termini. The rate of endocytosis can be fine-tuned over a broad range by changing the polymer structure. The cellular uptake increases with the hydrophobic character of the polymers and is observed even at nanomolar concentrations. Considering the structural versatility of this class of polymers, the relative ease of preparation and their stability underlines the potential of POx as a promising platform candidate for the preparation of next-generation polymer therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC3134160  PMID: 21513750
amphiphilic block copolymer; endocytosis; biocompatibility; drug delivery; flow cytometry
8.  Colloidal lithography for fabricating patterned polymer-brush microstructures 
We exploit a series of robust, but simple and convenient colloidal lithography (CL) approaches, using a microsphere array as a mask or as a guiding template, and combine this with surface-initiated atom-transfer radical polymerization (SI-ATRP) to fabricate patterned polymer-brush microstructures. The advantages of the CL technique over other lithographic approaches for the fabrication of patterned polymer brushes are (i) that it can be carried out with commercially available colloidal particles at a relatively low cost, (ii) that no complex equipment is required to create the patterned templates with micro- and nanoscale features, and (iii) that polymer brush features are controlled simply by changing the size or chemical functionality of the microspheres or the substrate.
PMCID: PMC3388364  PMID: 23016144
atom-transfer radical polymerization; colloidal lithography; patterning; self-assembled microsphere monolayer
9.  Neuronal uptake and intracellular superoxide scavenging of a fullerene (C60)-poly(2-oxazoline)s nanoformulation 
Biomaterials  2011;32(14):3654-3665.
Fullerene, the third allotrope of carbon, has been referred to as a “radical sponge” because of its powerful radical scavenging activities. However, the hydrophobicity and toxicity associated with fullerene limits its application as a therapeutic antioxidant. In the present study, we sought to overcome these limitations by generating water-soluble nanoformulations of fullerene (C60). Fullerene (C60) was formulated with poly(N-vinyl pyrrolidine) (PVP) or poly(2-alkyl-2-oxazoline)s (POx) homopolymer and random copolymer to form nano-complexes. These C60-polymer complexes were characterized by UV–vis spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy (IR), dynamic light scattering (DLS), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Cellular uptake and intracellular distribution of the selected formulations in catecholaminergic (CATH.a) neurons were examined by UV–vis spectroscopy, immunofluorescence and immunogold labeling. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy was used to determine the ability of these C60-polymer complexes to scavenge superoxide. Their cytotoxicity was evaluated in three different cell lines. C60-POx and C60-PVP complexes exhibited similar physicochemical properties and antioxidant activities. C60-poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline) (PEtOx) complex, but not C60-PVP complex, were efficiently taken up by CATH.a neurons and attenuated the increase in intra-neuronal superoxide induced by angiotensin II (Ang II) stimulation. These results show that C60-POx complexes are non-toxic, neuronal cell permeable, superoxide scavenging antioxidants that might be promising candidates for the treatment of brain-related diseases associated with increased levels of superoxide.
PMCID: PMC3085347  PMID: 21342705
Fullerene (C60); Polyoxazoline; Antioxidant; Free radical; Neural cell
10.  Fluoride bioavailability in saliva and plaque 
BMC Oral Health  2012;12:3.
Different fluoride formulations may have different effects on caries prevention. It was the aim of this clinical study to assess the fluoride content, provided by NaF compared to amine fluoride, in saliva and plaque.
Eight trained volunteers brushed their teeth in the morning for 3 minutes with either NaF or amine fluoride, and saliva and 3-day-plaque-regrowth was collected at 5 time intervals during 6 hours after tooth brushing. The amount of collected saliva and plaque was measured, and the fluoride content was analysed using a fluoride sensitive electrode. All subjects repeated all study cycles 5 times, and 3 cycles per subject underwent statistical analysis using the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test.
Immediately after brushing the fluoride concentration in saliva increased rapidly and dropped to the baseline level after 360 minutes. No difference was found between NaF and amine fluoride. All plaque fluoride levels were elevated after 30 minutes until 120 minutes after tooth brushing, and decreasing after 360 minutes to baseline. According to the highly individual profile of fluoride in saliva and plaque, both levels of bioavailability correlated for the first 30 minutes, and the fluoride content of saliva and plaque was back to baseline after 6 hours.
Fluoride levels in saliva and plaque are interindividually highly variable. However, no significant difference in bioavailability between NaF and amine fluoride, in saliva, or in plaque was found.
PMCID: PMC3295678  PMID: 22230722
11.  Protein Modification with Amphiphilic Block Copoly(2-oxazoline)s as a New Platform for Enhanced Cellular Delivery 
Molecular pharmaceutics  2010;7(4):984-992.
Several homo-, random and block copolymers based on poly(2-oxazoline)s (POx) were synthesized and conjugated to horseradish peroxidase (HRP) using biodegradable and non-biodegradable linkers. These conjugates were characterized by amino group titration, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE), isoelectric focusing, enzymatic activity assay and conformation analysis. The conjugates contained on average from about one to two polymer chains per enzyme. From 70% to 90% of enzymatic activity was retained in most cases. Circular dichroism (CD) analysis revealed that HRP modification affected the secondary structure of the apoprotein but did not affect the tertiary structure and heme environment. Enhanced cellular uptake was found in the conjugates of two block copolymers using both MDCK cells and Caco-2 cells, but not in the conjugates of random copolymer and homopolymer. Conjugation with a block copolymer of 2-methyl-2-oxazoline and 2-butyl-2-oxazoline led to the highest cellular uptake as compared to other conjugates. Our data indicates that modification with amphiphilic POx has the potential to modulate and enhance cellular delivery of proteins.
PMCID: PMC3070747  PMID: 20550191
Protein engineering; polyoxazolines; biocompatible; endocytosis; MDCK; Caco-2 cells
12.  Doubly-Amphiphilic Poly(2-oxazoline)s as High-Capacity Delivery Systems for Hydrophobic Drugs 
Biomaterials  2010;31(18):4972-4979.
Solubilization of highly hydrophobic drugs with carriers that are non-toxic, non-immunogenic and well-defined remains a major obstacle in pharmaceutical sciences. Well defined amphiphilic di- and triblock copolymers based on poly(2-oxazolines) were prepared and used for the solubilization of Paclitaxel (PTX) and other water-insoluble drugs. Probing the polymer micelles in water with the fluorescence probe pyrene, an unusual high polar microenvironment of the probe was observed. This coincides with an extraordinary large loading capacity for PTX of 45 wt.% active drug in the formulation as well as high water solubility of the resulting formulation. Physicochemical properties of the formulations, ease of preparation and stability upon lyophilization, low toxicity and immunogenicity suggest that poly(2-oxazoline)s are promising candidates for the delivery of highly challenging drugs. Furthermore, we demonstrate that PTX is fully active and provides superior tumor inhibition as compared to the commercial micellar formulation.
PMCID: PMC2884201  PMID: 20346493
drug delivery; solvatochromism; polymer micelles; polyoxazolines; polymerization

Results 1-12 (12)