Building Blocks for Polymeric Micelles

Amphiphilic block copolymers are the typical building blocks used for the formation of micelles. The term amphiphilic refers to a molecule that consists of both hydrophobic and hydrophilic segments. In aqueous solution, these block copolymers can self-assemble to form micelles consisting of a hydrophobic core and a hydrophilic corona or shell.3-6 The hydrophilic corona



+ Water


or buffer

Remove „ Solvent

+ Water or buffer

Hydrophilic corona

Hydrophobic core

FIGURE 17.1 Techniques for preparation of drug-loaded block copolymer micelles. (a) Copolymers and drugs are directly dissolved in water and form drug-loaded micelles spontaneously using the direct dissolution method. (b) In the evaporation method, copolymers and drugs are dissolved in an organic solvent. The solvent is evaporated, and drug-loaded micelles are formed with the addition of an aqueous solution. (c) In the dialysis method, copolymers and drugs are dissolved in an organic solvent that is miscible with water. Subsequent addition of water induces formation of micelles with swollen cores. Finally, the solvent is removed by evaporation or dialysis to form intact drug-loaded micelles. The structure of a drug-loaded micelle is also shown above.

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