Hydrophobic effects in the critical destabilization and release dynamics of degradable multilayer films

Renée C. Smith, Amy Leung, Byeong Su Kim, Paula T. Hammond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Recent research has highlighted the ability of hydrolytically degradable electrostatic layer-by-layer films to act as versatile drug delivery systems capable of multiagent release. A key element of these films is the potential to gain precise control of release by evoking a surface-erosion mechanism. Here we sought to determine the extent to which manipulation of chemical structure could be used to control release from hydrolytically degradable layer-by-layer films through modification of the degradable polycation. Toward this goal, films composed of poly(β-amino ester)s, varying only in the choice of diacrylate monomer, and the model biological drug, dextran sulfate, were used to ascertain the role of alkyl chain length, steric hindrance, and hydrophobicity on release dynamics. Above a critical polycation hydrophobicity, as determined using octanol:water coefficients, the film becomes rapidly destabilized and quickly released its contents. These findings indicate that in these unique electrostatic assemblies, hydrolytic susceptibility is dependent not only on hydrophobicity but a complex balance between hydrophobic composition, charge density, and stability of electrostatic ion pairs. Computational determination of octanokwater coefficients allowed for the reliable prediction of release dynamics. The determination of a correlation between the octanokwater coefficient and release duration will enable advanced engineering to produce custom drug delivery systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1108-1115
Number of pages8
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Mar 24

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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