Mixed micelle formation with hydrophobic and hydrophilic Pluronic block copolymers: implications for controlled and targeted drug delivery

Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2011 Dec 1;88(2):691-6. doi: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2011.08.002. Epub 2011 Aug 6.


Pluronic block copolymers offer affluent phase behavioral characteristics and are extensively investigated for drug delivery applications. Hydrophobic Pluronics produce larger aggregates whereas hydrophilic Pluronics often generate small-sized micelles in aqueous milieu. To overcome the limitations and combine the advantages of different kinds of Pluronics the mixing of such two types of Pluronics is studied here, especially for hydrophobic Pluronic L81 and relatively hydrophilic Pluronic P123. Critical micelle concentration (CMC) of the developed binary mixtures was 0.032 mg/ml as evidenced from pyrene fluorescence spectroscopy and is located in between that of the individual Pluronics. Dynamic light scattering (DLS) showed very small particle sizes (∼20 nm) and low polydispersity indices for most of the mixed micelles. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) demonstrated spherical shape of micelles. Based upon the ratio of hydrophobic and hydrophilic Pluronics, dispersions of varied stability were obtained. With 0.1/1.0 wt.% and 0.5/3.0 wt.% of Pluronic L81/P123, stable dispersions were obtained. Stability was assessed from turbidity measurement, size analysis and clarity of dispersion on standing. Micelles were also found to be stable in bovine serum albumin (BSA) solution. Mixed micelles showed fairly high entrapment efficiency, loading capacity and sustained release profile for aceclofenac (Acl), a model hydrophobe. Presence of salt lowered Acl solubilization in micelles. Thermodynamic parameters for Acl solubilization in mixed micelles revealed high partition coefficient values and spontaneity of drug solubilization. Thus, the developed novel mixed micelles hold promise in controlled and targeted drug delivery owing to their very small size, high entrapment efficiency and stability.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Diclofenac / administration & dosage
  • Diclofenac / analogs & derivatives
  • Diclofenac / chemistry
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Micelles*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / chemistry
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence


  • Drug Carriers
  • Micelles
  • Polymers
  • Diclofenac
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • aceclofenac