POLYMER BULLETIN, vol.79, no.9, pp.7729-7751, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
Cationic polymers with primary amine groups that can easily be functionalized or coupled with substrates by complexation or hydrogen bonding are especially advantageous in preparing particles for biomedical applications. Poly(vinyl amine) (PVAm) is a cationic polyelectrolyte containing the highest number of primary amine groups among any other polymers. Here, we introduce a general method in synthesizing PVAm microparticles via a surfactant-free water-in-oil emulsion technique using cyclohexane as the oil phase and aqueous PVAm solution as the dispersed phase. PVAm particles were prepared to employ two different bifunctional chemical crosslinkers, divinyl sulfone (DVS) and poly(ethylene glycol) diglycidyl ether (PEGGE). The prepared particles were further treated with HCl to protonate the amine groups of PVAm within particles. The effect of crosslinker types and pH on the hydrolytic degradation of PVAm particles were also investigated at three different solution pHs, 5.4, 7.4, and 9, to simulate the skin, blood, and intestinal pH environments, respectively. The blood compatibility of the PVAm particles was evaluated by in vitro hemolysis and blood clotting assays. Furthermore, antifungal and antibacterial efficacy of PVAm-based particles and their protonated forms were tested against C. albicans yeast and E. coli, S. aureus, B. subtilis, and P. aeruginosa bacterial strains.