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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines
Volume (Issue) 23(11n12)
Page(s) 1576 - 1586
Title of proceedings Journal of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines
DOI 10.1142/s1088424619501815


The encapsulation of five derivatives of chlorin e6 with different hydrophobicity and aggregation properties into a series of five poloxamer-type triblock copolymer micelles (BCMs) with varying numbers of polyethylene and polypropylene glycol (PEG, PPG) units was monitored using 1 H NMR spectroscopy. NMR chemical shift and line shape analysis, as well as dynamic methods including diffusion ordered spectroscopy (DOSY) and T 1 and T 2 relaxation time measurements of the chlorin and the polymer resonances, proved useful to assess the chlorin–BCM compatibility. The poloxamers had high capability to break up aggregates formed by chlorins up to intermediate hydrophobicity. Physically entrapped chlorins were always localized in the BCM core region. The loading capacity correlated with chlorin polarity for all poloxamers among which those with the lowest number of PPG units were most efficient. DOSY data revealed that relatively weakly aggregating chlorins partition between the aqueous bulk and micellar environment whereas more hydrophobic chlorins are well retained in the BCM core region, rendering these systems more stable. T 1 and T 2 relaxation time measurements indicated that motional freedom in the BCM core region contributes to encapsulation efficiency. The BCM corona dynamics were rather insensitive towards chlorin entrapment except for the poloxamers with short PEG chains. The presented data demonstrate that 1 H NMR spectroscopy is a powerful complementary tool for probing the compatibility of porphyrinic compounds with polymeric carriers such as poloxamer BCMs, which is a prerequisite in the development of stable and highly efficient drug delivery systems suitable for medical applications like photodynamic therapy of tumors.