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Keywords:

  • PCL-PEO-PCL block copolymer;
  • micelle;
  • CMC;
  • precipitation method;
  • drug release;
  • nimodipine

Abstract

Amphiphilic triblock copolymers, poly(ε-caprolactone)-poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL-PEO-PCL), were synthesized by ring opening polymerization of ε-caprolactone initiated with the hydroxyl functional groups of poly(ethylene glycol) at both ends of the chain. The micelles composed of this type of copolymer had such a structure that both ends of the PEO chain were anchored to the micelle. The critical micelle concentration of the block copolymer in distilled water was determined by a fluorescence probe technique using pyrene. As the hydrophobic components of the block copolymer increased, the critical micelle concentration value decreased. To estimate the feasibility as novel drug carriers, the block copolymer micelles were prepared by precipitation of polymer from acetone solution into water. From the observation of transmission electron microscopy, the micelles exhibited a spherical shape. Nimodipine was incorporated into the hydrophobic inner core of micelles as a lipophilic model drug to investigate the drug release behavior. The PEO/PCL ratio of copolymer was a main factor in controlling micelle size, drug-loading content, and drug release behavior. As PCL weight ratio increased, the micelle size and drug-loading content increased, and the drug release rate decreased. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc. and the American Pharmaceutical Association J Pharm Sci 91:1463–1473, 2002