Polyketal microparticles: a new delivery vehicle for superoxide dismutase

Bioconjug Chem. Jan-Feb 2007;18(1):4-7. doi: 10.1021/bc060259s.


There is currently great interest in developing microparticles that can enhance the delivery of proteins to macrophages. In this communication, we present a new acid-sensitive polymer for drug delivery, poly(cyclohexane-1,4-diyl acetone dimethylene ketal) (PCADK). PCADK is designed to hydrolyze, after phagocytosis by macrophages, in the acidic environment of the phagosome and enhance the intracellular delivery of phagocytosed therapeutics. Other key attributes of PCADK for drug delivery are its well-characterized degradation products and straightforward synthesis. PCADK hydrolyzes into 1,4-cyclohexanedimethanol, a compound used in food packaging, and acetone, a compound on the FDA GRAS list. PCADK was synthesized using the acetal exchange reaction between 1,4-cyclohexanedimethanol and 2,2-dimethoxypropane, and could be obtained on a multigram scale in one step. The hydrolysis kinetics of the ketal linkages in PCADK were measured by 1H NMR and were determined to be pH-sensitive, having a half-life of 24.1 days at pH 4.5 and over 4 years at pH 7.4. The therapeutic enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), which scavenges reactive oxygen species, was encapsulated into PCADK-based microparticles using a double emulsion procedure. Cell culture experiments demonstrated that PCADK-based microparticles dramatically improved the ability of SOD to scavenge reactive oxygen species produced by macrophages. We anticipate numerous applications of PCADK in drug delivery, based on its acid sensitivity, well-characterized degradation products, and straightforward synthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hydrolysis
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Molecular Structure
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism*


  • Polymers
  • poly(cyclohexane-1,4-diyl acetone dimethylene ketal)
  • Superoxide Dismutase