Synthesis of Temperature-Responsive Dextran-MA/PNIPAAm Particles for Controlled Drug Delivery Using Superhydrophobic Surfaces



To implement a bioinspired methodology using superhydrophobic surfaces suitable for producing smart hydrogel beads in which the bioactive substance is introduced in the particles during their formation.


Several superhydrophobic surfaces, including polystyrene, aluminum and copper, were prepared. Polymeric solutions composed by photo-crosslinked dextran-methacrylated and thermal responsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) mixed with a protein (insulin or albumin) were dropped on the superhydrophobic surfaces, and the obtained millimetric spheres were hardened in a dry environment under UV light.


Spherical and non-sticky hydrogels particles were formed in few minutes on the superhydrophobic surfaces. The proteins included in the liquid formulation were homogeneously distributed in the particle network. The particles exhibited temperature-sensitive swelling, porosity and protein release rate, with the responsiveness tunable by the dextran-MA/PNIPAAm weight ratio.


The proposed method permitted the preparation of smart hydrogel particles in one step with almost 100% encapsulation yield. The temperature-sensitive release profiles suggest that the obtained spherical-shaped biomaterials are suitable as protein carriers. These stimuli-responsive beads could have potential to be used in pharmaceutical or other biomedical applications, including tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

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The authors acknowledge funding from the project: PTDC/QUI/68804/2006 (FCT), IBEROMARE-Procept, FEDER and MICINN (SAF2008-01679). The research leading to these results has also received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement #NMP4-SL-2009-229292. The authors are grateful to project DISC REGENERATION, Collaborative Project—Large-scale integrating project, NMP3-LA-2008-213904 for the use of the UV lamp.

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Correspondence to João F. Mano.

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Lima, A.C., Song, W., Blanco-Fernandez, B. et al. Synthesis of Temperature-Responsive Dextran-MA/PNIPAAm Particles for Controlled Drug Delivery Using Superhydrophobic Surfaces. Pharm Res 28, 1294–1305 (2011).

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  • biomimetics
  • delivery systems
  • dextran-methacrylate
  • encapsulation methods
  • inter-penetrated networks
  • smart systems
  • superhydrophobic surfaces