Development of polymeric nanoparticles showing tuneable pH-responsive precipitation
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A reverse micellar system comprising dioctyl-sulfosuccinate (AOT)/toluene was used as a template for polymerization of acrylamide/bisacrylamide-based functionalized polymeric nanoparticles. Such nanoparticles were typically sized between 20 and 90 nm and could be synthesized with a wide range of functional groups according to the monomers added to the polymerization mixture. Carboxy nanoparticles with acrylic acid as the functional monomer were synthesized in the reported work. The carboxy nanoparticles were pH sensitive and precipitated at pHs below 4. Modification of carboxy-functionalized polymeric nanoparticles with polyetheleneimine (PEI) resulted in the fabrication of a series of pH-responsive nanoparticles which could precipitate at different pHs and ionic strengths according to the PEI/carboxy ratio in the system. Both non-covalent PEI-nanoparticles conjugates and nanoparticles with covalently linked PEI behaved in this way.