Publications by authors named "Harriet Louise Judah"

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Influence of Buffers, Ionic Strength, and pH on the Volume Phase Transition Behavior of Acrylamide-Based Nanogels.

Polymers (Basel) 2020 Nov 4;12(11). Epub 2020 Nov 4.

Department of Chemistry, SBCS, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK.

The use of covalently crosslinked nanogels for applications in biology and medicine is dependent on their properties and characteristics, which often change because of the biological media involved. Understanding the role of salts, ionic strength and pH in altering specific properties is key to progress in this area. We studied the effect of both chemical structure and media environment on the thermoresponsive behavior of nanogels. A small library of methylenebisacrylamide (MBA) crosslinked nanogels were prepared using -isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) or -propylacrylamide (NPAM), in combination with functional monomers -hydroxyethylacrylamide (HEAM) and -acryloyl-l-proline (APrOH). The thermoresponsive properties of nanogels were evaluated in phosphate buffer, tris-acetate buffer and Ringer HEPES, with varying concentrations and ionic strengths. The presence of ions facilitates the phase separation of nanogels, and this "salting-out" effect strongly depends on the electrolyte concentration as well as the specificity of individual anions, e.g., their positions in the Hofmeister series. A subtle change in the chemical structure of the side chain of the monomer from NIPAM to NPAM leads to a reduction of the volume phase transition temperature (VPTT) value by ~10 °C. The addition of hydrophilic comonomers such as HEAM, on the other hand, causes a ~20 °C shift in VPTT to higher values. The data highlight the significant role played by the chemical structure of the monomers used, with hydrophobicity and rigidity closely interlinked in determining thermoresponsive behavior. Furthermore, the volume phase transition temperature (VPTT) of nanogels copolymerized with ionizable APrOH comonomer can be tailored by changes in the pH of buffer solutions. This temperature-controlled phase transition is driven by intricate interplay involving the entropy of mixing, electrostatic interactions, conformational transitions, and structural rigidity. These results highlight the importance of understanding the physiochemical properties and behavior of covalently crosslinked nanogels in a biological environment prior to their applications in life-science, such as temperature/pH-triggered drug delivery systems.
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November 2020