Thermoreversible radial growth of micellar assembly for hydrogel formation using zwitterionic oligopeptide copolymer

Bo Gyu Choi, So Hye Cho, Hyesun Lee, Myung Hwa Cha, Kwideok Park, Byeongmoon Jeong, Dong Keun Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Amphiphilic block copolymers can self-assemble into micelles in water and can further form thermosensitive gels. Here, we explored Pluronic F127 ABA triblock copolymer of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG; A) and poly(propylene glycol) (PPG; B), modified with telechelic ionic peptides, either anionic Gly-Phe-Gly-Asp (GFGD) or zwitterionic Gly-Arg-Gly-Leu (GRGL) or Gly-Arg-Gly-Asp (GRGD). All block copolymers formed micelles, but only those bearing zwitterionic peptides formed thermoreversible nanoassembly of micellar aggregates. These aggregates facilitate to form a gel at high polymer concentrations, thus making the sol-to-gel transition temperature lower than F127 and FGM. An increase in the sol-to-gel transition temperature and a decrease in the gel modulus have been a concern for biomedical applications of hydrophobically modified Pluronics. Current zwitterionic modified Pluronic F127, on the contrary, decreased the sol-to-gel transition temperature without loss of the gel modulus. The gelation, evidenced by cryo-transmission electron microscopy images, involves radial growth of micelle aggregates, which is strikingly different from that of Pluronics driven by simple unimer-to-micelle transition. The RGD-containing copolymer is of particular interest, in that it is cytocompatible and capable of binding to cell-surface adhesion receptors. This work suggests a new platform in designing a temperature-sensitive polymer with a unique nanoassembly for tissue regeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2269-2275
Number of pages7
Issue number7
StatePublished - 12 Apr 2011


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