Chapter

Amino-Acid Homopolymers Occurring in Nature

Volume 15 of the series Microbiology Monographs pp 119-153

Date:

Pharmaceutical and Medical Applications of Poly-Gamma-Glutamic Acid

  • Takami AkagiAffiliated withDepartment of Applied Chemistry, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University
  • , Michiya MatsusakiAffiliated withDepartment of Applied Chemistry, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University
  • , Mitsuru AkashiAffiliated withDepartment of Applied Chemistry, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University Email author 

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Abstract

Poly(amino acid)s have received considerable attention for biomedical applications. Poly(γ-glutamic acid) (γ-PGA), a natural polymer, is synthesized by several gram-positive bacteria. γ-PGA is anionic, water soluble, biodegradable, edible, nontoxic, and nonimmunogenic for humans and the environment, and its α-carboxylate side chains can be chemically modified to introduce various drugs, or to modulate the amphiphilicity of the polymer. These features of γ-PGA are very useful for pharmaceutical and biomedical applications. This paper reviews the preparation of polymeric drugs, nanoparticles, and hydrogels composed of γ-PGA and their medical applications as drug carriers and tissue-engineering materials. γ-PGA–drug conjugates, nanoparticles, and hydrogels fabricated from γ-PGA or its derivatives have wide application for drug delivery system and regenerative medical technique.