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Nanoscale. 2017 Nov 30;9(46):18438-18448. doi: 10.1039/c7nr06821b.

Mucopenetrating micelles with a PEG corona.

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Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center, Aarhus University, Gustav Wieds Vej 14, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark.


Crossing the intestinal mucus layer is a long-standing challenge for orally delivered nanoparticles carrying therapeutic cargo. We report the assembly of mucopenetrating cargo-loaded micelles using block copolymers consisting of either linear poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) or bottle-brush poly(oligo(ethylene glycol)methacrylate) (PEGb) as the hydrophilic block and poly(caprolactone) (PCL) or poly(cholesteryl methacrylate) (PCMA) as the hydrophobic extension. The micelles were shown to preserve their stability and retain ∼50% of their cargo in simulated gastric fluid. The ability of micelles to diffuse through reconstituted porcine mucus was assessed in a microfluidic set-up. Finally, the delivery of Nile Red as a hydrophobic model cargo across a mucus layer produced by epithelial cells was demonstrated. These engineered mucopenetrating micelles have potential to be developed into efficient absorption enhancers, contributing a nanotechnology solution to oral drug delivery.


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