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Keywords:

  • biodegradable;
  • biomimetic;
  • poly(amidoamine)s;
  • step-growth polymerization;
  • water-soluble polymers

Poly(amidoamine)s (PAAs) are a family of synthetic polymers obtained by stepwise polyaddition of prim- or sec-amines to bisacrylamides. Nearly all conceivable bisacrylamides and prim- or sec-amines can be employed as monomers endowing PAAs of a structural versatility nearly unique among stepwise polyaddition polymers. PAAs are degradable in aqueous media, including physiological fluids. Many of them are remarkably biocompatible notwithstanding their cationic character. PAAs are per se highly functional polymers and, in addition, can be further functionalized giving rise to an endless variety of polymeric structures meeting the requisites for applications in such apparently disparate fields as inorganic water pollutants scavengers, sensors, drug and protein intracellular carriers, transfection promoters, peptidomimetic antiviral and antimalarial agents. In this review, the unique chemistry of PAAs is discussed and a vast library of PAA structures and PAA applications from the beginning to the present days reported. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2013, 51, 2319–2353