Synthesis, characterization, and degradation behavior of amphiphilic poly-alpha,beta-[N-(2-hydroxyethyl)-L-aspartamide]-g-poly(epsilon-caprolactone).Biomacromolecules 2005 Nov-Dec; 6(6):3449-57B
A series of biodegradable amphiphilic graft polymers were successfully synthesized by grafting poly(epsilon-caprolactone) (PCL) sequences onto a water-soluble poly-alpha,beta-[N-(2-hydroxyethyl)-L-aspartamide] (PHEA) backbone. The graft copolymers were prepared through the ring-opening polymerization of epsilon-caprolactone (CL) initiated by the macroinitiator PHEA with pendant hydroxyl groups without adding any catalyst. By controlling the feed ratio of the macroinitiator to the monomer, the copolymers with different branch lengths and properties can be obtained. The successful grafting of PCL sequences onto the PHEA backbone was verified by FTIR, 1H NMR, and combined size-exclusion chromatography and multiangle laser light scattering (SEC-MALLS) analysis. The hydrolytic degradation and enzymatic degradation of these graft copolymers were investigated. The results show the hydrolytic degradation rate increases with increasing content of hydrophilic PHEA backbone. While the enzymatic degradation rate is affected by two competitive factors, the catalytic effect of Pseudomonas cepacia lipase on the degradation of PCL branches and the hydrophilicity which depends on the copolymer composition. In situ observation of the degradation under polarizing light microscope (PLM) demonstrates the different degradation rates of different regions in the polymer samples.