Polyglycerol nanogels: Highly functional scaffolds for biomedical applications.
A.L. Sisson, R. Haag – 2010
Branched polyglycerols (PGs) are a versatile class of functionalisable, hydrophilic, hydroxylated polyethers with ideal properties for numerous applications. Historically, synthetic limitations have restricted the study of such materials to globular hyperbranched polymers (<10 nm) or macroscale biocompatible hydrogels (>1000 nm). In this Emerging Area minireview we describe how we use miniemulsion polymerisation to prepare polyglycerol nanogels on previously unobtainable length scales. Various cases are discussed with particle sizes that are highly tunable between 25 and 350 nm diameter; methods to surface functionalise such particles are also described. Biodegradable polyglycerol based nanogels have also been prepared by incorporating redox active disulfide branching points within the nanogel structure. Cell culture studies show that these nanogels are highly biocompatible. Additionally, dye labelled nanogels are shown by optical microscopy techniques to readily internalise into cells by endocytic mechanisms. We believe that these polyglycerol nanogels will emerge as excellent materials for use in a broad range of biomedical applications.