Indexed on: 31 Oct '14Published on: 31 Oct '14Published in: Soft Matter
We report the versatility of polyion complex (PIC) micelles for the preparation of shell and core cross-linked (SCL and CCL) micelles with their surface properties determined by the constituent polymer composition and cross-linking agent. The negatively and positively charged PIC micelles with their molecular structure and properties depending on the mixing weight percentage and polymer molecular weight were first prepared by mixing the negatively and positively charged polyions, poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) and poly(L-lysine) (PLL). The feasibility of preparing SCL micelles was demonstrated by cross-linking the shell of the negatively and positively charged micelles using cystamine and genipin, respectively. The core of the micelles can be cross-linked by silica deposition to stabilize the assemblies. The shell and/or core cross-linked micelles exhibited excellent colloid stability upon changing solution pH. The drug release from the drug-loaded SCL micelles revealed that the controllable permeability of the SCL micelles can be achieved by tuning the cross-linking degree and the SCL micelles exhibited noticeable pH-responsive behavior with accelerated release under acidic conditions. With the versatility of cross-linking strategies, it is possible to prepare a variety of SCL and CCL micelles from PIC micelles.