Thermo-Responsive Nanocomposite Hydrogels Based on PEG-b-PLGA Diblock Copolymer and Laponite.


Frontier Research Center for Applied Atomic Sciences, Ibaraki University, 162-1 Shirakata, Tokai, Ibaraki 319-1106, Japan. [Email]


Poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(d,l-lactide-co-glycolide) (PEG-b-PLGA) diblock copolymers are widely known as polymeric surfactants for biomedical applications, and exhibit high solubility in water compared to PLGA-b-PEG-b-PLGA triblock copolymers known as gelation agents. In order to overcome the difficulties in the preparation of thermo-responsive hydrogels based on PLGA-b-PEG-b-PLGA due to the low solubility in water, the fabrication of thermo-responsive hydrogels based on PEG-b-PLGA with high solubility in water was attempted by adding laponite to the PEG-b-PLGA solution. In detail, PEG-b-PLGA with high solubility in water (i.e., high PEG/PLGA ratio) were synthesized. Then, the nanocomposite solution based on PEG-b-PLGA and laponite (laponite/PEG-b-PLGA nanocomposite) was fabricated by mixing the PEG-b-PLGA solutions and the laponite suspensions. By using the test tube inversion method and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), it was found that thermo-responsive hydrogels could be obtained by using PEG-b-PLGA, generally known as polymeric surfactants, and that the gelation temperature was around the physiological temperature and could be regulated by changing the solution composition. Furthermore, from the structural analysis by small angle neutron scattering (SANS), PEG-b-PLGA was confirmed to be on the surface of the laponite platelets, and the thermosensitive PEG-b-PLGA on the laponite surface could trigger the thermo-responsive connection of the preformed laponite network.


PEG,PLGA,nanocomposite,thermo-responsive hydrogel,

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