2021 Volume 69 Issue 8 Pages 773-780
Multifunctional synthetic polymers can bind to target molecules and are therefore widely investigated in diagnostics, drug delivery carriers, and separation carriers. Because these polymers are synthesized from nonbiological components, purification processes (e.g., chromatography, dialysis, extraction, and centrifugation) must be conducted after the synthesis. Although several purification methods are used for polymer purification, few reports have revealed the influence of purification process on the functions of polymer. In this study, we demonstrated that the characteristics, function, and stability of synthetic polymer depend on the purification process. N-Isopropylacrylamide-based polymer nanoparticles (NPs) and melittin (i.e., honey bee venom) were used as a model of synthetic polymer and target toxic peptide, respectively. Synthesized NPs were purified by dialysis in methanol, acetone precipitation, or centrifugation. NPs purified by dialysis in ultrapure water were used as control NPs. Then, NP size, surface charge, toxin neutralization effect, and stability were determined. NP size did not considerably change by purification with centrifugation; however, it decreased by purification using dialysis in methanol and acetone precipitation compared with that of control NPs. The ζ-potential of NPs changed after each purification process compared with that of control NPs. The melittin neutralization efficiency of NPs depended on the purification process; i.e., it decreased by acetone precipitation and increased by dialysis in methanol and centrifugation compared with that of control NPs. Of note, the addition of methanol and acetone decreased NP stability. These studies implied the importance of considering the effect of the purification method on synthetic polymer function.