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Advances in the therapeutic delivery and applications of functionalized Pluronics: A critical review

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Pankaj Singla, Dr Jake McClementsORCiD, Dr Ollie Jamieson, Professor Marloes PeetersORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Pluronic (PEO-PPO-PEO) block copolymers can form nano-sized micelles with a structure composed of a hydrophobic PPO core and hydrophilic PEO shell layer. Pluronics are U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved polymers, which are widely used for solubilization of drugs and their delivery, gene/therapeutic delivery, diagnostics, and tissue engineering applications due to their non-ionic properties, non-toxicity, micelle forming ability, excellent biocompatibility and biodegradability. Although Pluronics have been employed as drug carrier systems for several decades, numerous issues such as rapid dissolution, shorter residence time in biological media, fast clearance and weak mechanical strength have hindered their efficacy. Pluronics have been functionalized with pH-sensitive, biological-responsive moieties, antibodies, aptamers, folic acid, drugs, different nanoparticles, and photo/thermo-responsive hydrogels. These functionalization strategies enable Pluronics to act as stimuli responsive and targeted drug delivery vehicles. Moreover, Pluronics have emerged in nano-emulsion formulations and have been utilized to improve the properties of cubosomes, dendrimers and nano-sheets, including their biocompatibility and aqueous solubility. Functionalization of Pluronics results in the significant improvement of target specificity, loading capacity, biocompatibility of nanoparticles and stimuli responsive hydrogels for the promising delivery of a range of drugs. Therefore, this review presents an overview of all advancements (from the last 15 years) in functionalized Pluronics, providing a valuable tool for industry and academia in order to optimize their use in drug or therapeutic delivery, in addition to several other biomedical applications.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Singla P, Garg S, McClements J, Jamieson O, Peeters M, Mahajan R

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Advances in Colloid and Interface Science

Year: 2022

Volume: 299

Online publication date: 18/11/2021

Acceptance date: 18/11/2021

ISSN (print): 0001-8686

ISSN (electronic): 1873-3727


DOI: 10.1016/j.cis.2021.102563