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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2017 May 3;9(17):14700-14708. doi: 10.1021/acsami.7b02252. Epub 2017 Apr 19.

Cross-Linking Induced Self-Organization of Polymers into Degradable Assemblies.

Yuan C1,2, Hong B1,2, Chang Y1,2, Mao J1,2, Li Y1,2, Xu Y1,2, Zeng B1,2, Luo W1,2, GĂ©rard JF3, Dai L1,2.

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College of Materials, Xiamen University , Xiamen, Fujian 361005, China.
Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Fire Retardant Materials, College of Materials, Xiamen University , Xiamen, Fujian 361005, China.
INSA de Lyon, IMP, Villeurbanne F-69621, France.


Covalently stabilized polymer assemblies are normally fabricated from the self-assembly of polymer chains followed by a cross-linking reaction. In this report, we show that a cross-linking-induced self-assembly approach, in which boronate cross-linking sites are formed by the condensation reaction between boronic and catechol groups, can organize polymer networks into uniform assemblies. Self-assembly of these boronate cross-linked polymer networks adopts two different driving forces in water and methanol solutions. Hydrophobic aggregation of polymer networks in water solution affords spherical assemblies, while B-N dative bond formed between boronate and imine functionalities in methanol solution organizes the polymer networks into bundle-like assemblies. We not only demonstrate the intrinsic stimuli-responsive degradability of these cross-linked assemblies but also show that their degradation can cause a controllable release of guest molecules. Moreover, bundle-like assemblies with rough surface and exposed boronate functionalities exhibit dramatically higher cell penetration capability than the spherical assemblies with smooth surface and embedded boronate functionalities.


cell uptake; cross-linking polymers; degradation; self-assembly; stimuli-response


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