In this paper, we mainly described the reversible self-assembly of a backbone-thermoresponsive, long-chain, hyperbranched poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) (LCHBPNIPAM) in aqueous solution. Here, we revealed a reversible self-assembly behavior of LCHBPNIPAM aqueous solution derived from temperature. By controlling the temperature of LCHBPNIPAM aqueous solution, we tune the morphology of the LCHBPNIPAM self-assemblies. When the solution temperature increased from the room temperature to the lower critical solution temperature of PNIPAM segments, LCHBPNIPAM self-assembled from multi-compartment vesicles into solid micelles. The morphology of LCHBPNIPAM self-assemblies changed from solid micelles to multi-compartment vesicles again when the temperature decreased back to the room temperature. The size presented, at first, an increase, and then a decrease, tendency in the heating-cooling process. The above thermally-triggered self-assembly behavior of LCHBPNIPAM aqueous solution was investigated by dynamic/static light scattering, transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, 1H nuclear magnetic resonance in D2O, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. These results indicated that LCHBPNIPAM aqueous solution presents a reversible self-assembly process. The controlled release behaviors of doxorubicin from the vesicles and micelles formed by LCHBPNIPAM further proved the feasibility of these self-assemblies as the stimulus-responsive drug delivery system.


Ting-Ting Liu,Wei Tian,Yan-Li Song,Yang Bai,Peng-Li Wei,Hao Yao and Hong-Xia Yan.