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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dual responsive polymeric nanoparticles prepared by direct functionalization of polylactic acid-based polymers via graft-from ring opening metathesis polymerization.

  • Author(s): Veccharelli, Kate M
  • Tong, Venus K
  • Young, Jennifer L
  • Yang, Jerry
  • Gianneschi, Nathan C
  • et al.

Polylactic acid (PLA) has found widespread use in plastics and in biomedical applications due to its biodegradability into natural benign products. However, PLA-based materials remain limited in usefulness due to difficulty of incorporating functional groups into the polymer backbone. In this paper, we report a strategy for PLA functionalization that establishes the preparation of highly derivatized materials in which ring opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP) is employed as a graft-from polymerization technique utilizing a norbornene-modified handle incorporated into the PLA backbone. As a demonstration of this new synthetic methodology, a PLA-derived nanoparticle bearing imidazole units protected with a photolabile group was prepared. The morphology of this material could be controllably altered in response to exposure of UV light or acidic pH as a stimulus. We anticipate that this graft-from approach to derivatization of PLA could find broad use in the development of modified, biodegradable PLA-based materials.

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