Molecular recognition in poly(epsilon-caprolactone)-based thermoplastic elastomers

Eva Wisse, A. J. H. Spiering, Ellen N. M. van Leeuwen, Raymond A. E. Renken, Patricia Y. W. Dankers, Linda A. Brouwer, Marja J. A. van Luyn, Martin C. Harmsen, Nico A. J. M. Sommerdijk, E. W. Meijer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


The molecular recognition properties of the hydrogen bonding segments in biodegradable thermoplastic elastomers were explored, aiming at the further functionalization of these potentially interesting biomaterials. A poly(epsilon-caprolactone)-based poly(urea) 2 was synthesized and characterized in terms of mechanical properties, processibility and histocompatibility. Comparison of the data with those obtained from the structurally related poly( urethane urea) 1 revealed that the difference in hard segment structure does not significantly affect the potency for application as a biomaterial. Nevertheless, the small differences in hard block composition had a strong effect on the molecular recognition properties of the hydrogen bonding segments. High selectivity was found for poly(urea) 2 in which bisureidobutylene-functionalized azobenzene dye 3 was selectively incorporated while bisureidopentylene-functionalized azobenzene dye 4 was completely released. In contrast, the incorporation of both dyes in poly(urethane urea) 1 led in both cases to their gradual release in time. Thermal analysis of the polymers in combination with variable temperature infrared experiments indicated that the hard blocks in 1 showed a sharp melting point, whereas those in 2 showed a very broad melting trajectory. This suggests a more precise organization of the hydrogen bonding segments in the hard blocks of poly(urea) 2 compared to poly(urethane urea) 1 and explains the results from the molecular recognition experiments. Preliminary results revealed that a bisureidobutylene-functionalized GRGDS peptide showed more supramolecular interaction with the PCL-based poly(urea), containing the bisureidobutylene recognition unit, as compared to HMW PCL, lacking this recognition unit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3385-3395
Number of pages11
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 11-Dec-2006


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