pH and temperature responsive polymeric micelles and polymersomes by self-assembly of poly[2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate]-b-poly(glutamic acid) double hydrophilic block copolymers

Langmuir. 2010 Jul 6;26(13):10546-54. doi: 10.1021/la1005693.


The aqueous solution behavior of novel polypeptide-based double hydrophilic block copolymers (DHBCs), namely, poly[2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate]-b-poly(glutamic acid) (PDMAEMA-b-PGA), exhibiting pH- and temperature-responsiveness is presented using a combination of scattering techniques (light and neutron) and transmission electron microscopy. Close to the isoelectric point (IEP), direct or inverse electrostatic polymersomes are generated by electrostatic interactions developing between the two charged blocks and driving the formation of the hydrophobic membrane of the polymersomes, with the latter being stabilized in water by uncompensated charges. Under basic conditions, that is, when PDMAEMA is uncharged, the thermosensitivity of the DHBCs relates to the lower critical solution temperature (LCST) behavior of PDMAEMA around 40 degrees C. As a consequence, at pH = 11 and below this LCST, free chains of DHBC unimers are evidenced, while above the LCST the hydrophobicity of PDMAEMA drives the self-assembly of the DHBCs in a reversible manner. In this case, spherical polymeric micelles or polymersomes are obtained, depending on the PGA block length. These possibilities of variation in size and shape of morphologies that can be achieved as a function of temperature and/or pH variations open new routes in the development of multiresponsive nanocarriers for biomedical applications.

MeSH terms

  • Glutamic Acid / chemistry*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Methacrylates / chemistry*
  • Micelles*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure
  • Nanotechnology
  • Nylons / chemistry*
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Scattering, Radiation
  • Temperature


  • Methacrylates
  • Micelles
  • Nylons
  • Polymers
  • poly(2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate)
  • Glutamic Acid