Modified doxorubicin for improved encapsulation in PVA polymeric micelles

Isabella Orienti, G. Zuccari, A. Fini, A. M. Rabasco, R. Carosio, L. Raffaghello, P. G. Montaldo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Polyvinylalcohol, partially substituted with lipophilic acyl chains, generates polymeric micelles in aqueous phase, containing a hydrophobic core able to encapsulate lipophilic drugs. Two types of polymers were obtained by conjugation of polyvinylakohol with oleoyl or linoleoyl chains as pendant groups. The polymers, at a substitution degree of ∼1%, are soluble in water and form polymeric micelles whose size increases with polymer concentration. Doxorubicin was hydrophobized, by linking an oleoyl chain via amide bond, to make the drug more similar to the substituted polymers and promote its encapsulation into the inner core of the micelles. The properties of the drug-polymer systems were evaluated in solution by dynamic light scattering technique and correlated to the physicochemical characteristics of the drug and the substituted polymers. Solubilization tests revealed that the similarity of the chain, in both the polymer and the drug, promotes better drug encapsulation in the oleoyl than linoleoyl derivative. The drug-polymer systems are stable in phosphate buffer saline (pH 7.4) at 37°C, and the release of the drug is activated by the presence of the proteolytic enzyme pronase-E. The enzyme activated drug release and the size of the polymeric micelles, compatible with the pore dimensions of the tumor vessels, make these systems interesting for targeting lipophilic drugs to solid tumors, where the proteolytic enzyme concentration strongly raises with respect to the other body compartments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-20
Number of pages6
JournalDrug Delivery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


  • Doxorubicin-Oleate
  • Drug Encapsulation
  • Dynamic Light Scattering
  • Polymeric Micelles
  • Polyvinylalcohol-Co-Vinyloleate and Co-Vinyllinoleate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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