Microfluidic Fabrication of Pluronic Vesicles with Controlled Permeability


do Nascimento, D. F. ; Arriaga, L. R. ; Eggersdorfer, M. ; Ziblat, R. ; de Marques, M. F. V. ; Reynaud, F. ; Koehler, S. A. ; Weitz, D. A. Microfluidic Fabrication of Pluronic Vesicles with Controlled Permeability. Langmuir 2016, 32, 5350–5355. Copy at http://www.tinyurl.com/y5tou6vc
donascimento2016.pdf1.88 MB


Block copolymers with a low hydrophilic-to-lipophilic balance form membranes that are highly permeable to hydrophilic molecules. Polymersomes with this type of membrane enable the controllable release of molecules without membrane rupture. However, these polymersomes are difficult to assemble because of their low hydrophobicity. Here, we report a microfluidic approach to the production of these polymersomes using double-emulsion drops with ultrathin shells as templates. The small thickness of the middle oil phase enables the attraction of the hydrophobic blocks of the polymers adsorbed at each of the oil/water interfaces of the double emulsions; this results in the dewetting of the oil from the surface of the innermost water drops of the double emulsions and the ultimate formation of the polymersome. This approach to polymersome fabrication enables control of the vesicle size and results in the efficient encapsulation of hydrophilic ingredients that can be released through the polymer membrane without membrane rupture. We apply our approach to the fabrication of Pluronic L121 vesicles and characterize the permeability of their membranes. Furthermore, we show that membrane permeability can be tuned by blending different Pluronic polymers. Our work thus describes a route to producing Pluronic vesicles that are useful for the controlled release of hydrophilic ingredients.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 11/10/2020