Molecular dynamics study of the encapsulation capability of a PCL–PEO based block copolymer for hydrophobic drugs with different spatial distributions of hydrogen bond donors and acceptors
Molecular dynamics simulation was used to study the potential of using a block copolymer containing three poly(ɛ-caprolactone) (PCL) blocks of equal length connected to one end of a poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) block, designated as PEO-b-3PCL, to encapsulate two classes of hydrophobic drugs with distinctively different molecular structures. In particular, the first class of drugs consisted of two cucurbitacin drugs (CuB and CuI) that contain multiple hydrogen bond donors and acceptors evenly distributed on their molecules while the other class of drugs (fenofibrate and nimodipine) contain essentially only clustered hydrogen bond acceptors. In the case of cucurbitacin drugs, the results showed that PEO-b-3PCL lowered the Flory–Huggins interaction parameters (χ) considerably (i.e., increased the drug solubility) compared to the linear di-block copolymer PEO-b-PCL with the same PCL/PEO (w/w) ratio of 1.0. However, the opposite effect was observed for fenofibrate and nimodipine. Analysis of the intermolecular interactions indicates that the number of hydrogen bonds formed between the three PCL blocks and cucurbitacin drugs is significantly higher than that of the linear di-block copolymer. On the other hand, owing to the absence of hydrogen bond donors and the clustering of the hydrogen bond acceptors on the fenofibrate and nimodipine molecules, this significantly reduces the number of hydrogen bonds formed in the multi-PCL block environment, leading to unfavourable χ values. The findings of the present work suggest that multi-hydrophobic block architecture could potentially increase the drug loading for hydrophobic drugs with structures containing evenly distributed multiple hydrogen bond donors and acceptors.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 31, Issue 7, March 2010, Pages 1780–1786