Molecularly imprinted polyacrylamide polymers and copolymers with specific recognition for serum proteins
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Using molecular imprinting, polyacrylamide polymers were created with recognition for serum proteins in aqueous solution. By dissolving the protein in solution with functional monomers containing electrostatic groups, polymers with specific recognition sites for the macromolecule were created. The presence of three functional monomers that are anionic, cationic, and hydrogen-bond donating gave imprinted P(MAA-DMAEMA-Aam)MIP polymers that exhibited a ~200% increase in recognition to lysozyme template as compared to recognition by non-imprinted control. In addition, the P(MAA-DMAEMA-Aam)MIP polymer exhibited a 20% increase in recognition to chicken lysozyme template compared to the human lysozyme and a 30% increase over the similarly sized macromolecule, cytochrome c. These results gave proo vii In addition, the overall macroscopic properties of protein imprinted gels were examined using scanning electron microscopy, where definite morphological differences were observed between the MIP polymers and the controls. Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy determined that the presence of template had no effect upon the overall gel composition, while differential scanning calorimetry was used to determine the molecular weight between crosslinks of MIP polymers and controls. As an investigation of controlled drug delivery system, gels were also loaded with lysozyme, and the release of the protein was calculated. Imprinted gels exhibited a longer sustained release over controls, with P(MAA-DMAEMA-Aam)MIP polymers exhibiting the slowest release, where only ~80% of the protein was released after 72 h. This is compared to P(MAA-DMAEMA-Aam)C gel that exhibited ~100% release after 36 h. In all cases, released lysozyme retained enzymatic activity. The gels also exhibited good in vitro biocompatibility when in contact with 3T3 fibroblasts. This work forms the foundation of fabricating polymer gels with specific recognition to macromolecules. We feel these networks hold promise as recognition components in the next generation of biomaterials and drug delivery systems. Using specific chemical groups that mimic functionalities recognized by natural macromolecules, completely synthetic materials with specific selectivity for a target ligand can be designed. It is believed that such materials can be incorporated into biosensors, responsive drug delivery systems, or other diagnostic devices requiring the detection of specific molecules.