Polymer network carriers that switch their shape


Particle shape is believed to be a critical design parameter in biodistribution and biorecognition of drug carriers. While conventional polymer particles are static in shape, implementing the shapememory effect in particulate carriers has enabled an on-demand shape switching of particles from covalently crosslinked polymers as well as thermoplastic polymers. This has opened a platform to control cellular uptake of polymer particles by shape-switching. In this contribution, the question is addressed if ellipsoidal shape with moderate aspect ratio will be sufficient to enable differences in cellular uptake that are significant compared to spheres. For this purpose, particle-to-cell concentrations, particle size, and/or particle aspect ratio are altered. This analysis, conducted with poly(ε-caprolactone) based micronetwork particles under conditions of multiple cellparticle contact as relevant in vivo, will enable concluding on opportunities and limitations of shape effects for shapeswitchable particulate carriers. Furthermore, this contribution will elaborate on opportunities for alternative geometries of shapeswitching of particles, i.e. switching opportunities other than ellipsoid-to-sphere transitions. In particular, a switching of particles towards increased aspect ratios will be explored.
QR Code: Link to publication