Indexed on: 30 Jul '14Published on: 30 Jul '14Published in: Biomacromolecules
Amphiphilic macromolecules (AMs) composed of sugar backbones modified with branched aliphatic chains and a poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) tail can inhibit macrophage uptake of oxidized low-density lipoproteins (oxLDL), a major event underlying atherosclerosis development. Previous studies indicate that AM hydrophobic domains influence this bioactivity through interacting with macrophage scavenger receptors, which can contain basic and/or hydrophobic residues within their binding pockets. In this study, we compare two classes of AMs to investigate their ability to promote athero-protective potency via hydrogen-bonding or hydrophobic interactions with scavenger receptors. A series of ether-AMs, containing methoxy-terminated aliphatic arms capable of hydrogen-bonding, was synthesized. Compared to analogous AMs containing no ether moieties (alkyl-AMs), ether-AMs showed improved cytotoxicity profiles. Increasing AM hydrophobicity via incorporation of longer and/or alkyl-terminated hydrophobic chains yielded macromolecules with enhanced oxLDL uptake inhibition. These findings indicate that hydrophobic interactions and the length of AM aliphatic arms more significantly influence AM bioactivity than hydrogen-bonding.