• biodegradable;
  • NCA;
  • poly(glutamic acid);
  • ring-opening polymerization;
  • RGD peptide;
  • self-assembly


A novel amphiphilic biodegradable triblock copolymer (PGL-PLA-PGL) with polylactide (PLA) as hydrophobic middle block and poly(glutamic acid) (PGL) as hydrophilic lateral blocks was successfully synthesized by ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of L-lactide (LA) and N-carboxy anhydride (NCA) consecutively and by subsequent catalytic hydrogenation. The results of cell experiment of PGL-PLA-PGL suggested that PGL could improve biocompatibility of polyester obviously. The copolymer could form micelles of spindly shape easily in aqueous solution. The pendant carboxyl groups of the triblock copolymer were further activated with N-hydroxysuccinimide and combined with a cell-adhesive peptide GRGDSY. Incorporation of the oligopeptide further enhanced the hydrophilicity and led to formation of spherical micelles. PGL-PLA-PGL showed better cell adhesion and spreading ability than pure PLA and the GRGDSY-containing copolymer exhibited even further improvement in cell adhesion and spreading ability, indicating that the copolymer could find a promising application in drug delivery or tissue engineering. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem 45: 3218–3230, 2007