Phenylboronic acid as a glucose-responsive trigger to tune the insulin release of glycopolymer nanoparticles

An amphiphilic glycopolymer, poly(D-gluconamidoethyl methacrylate -r-3-methacrylamido phenylboronic acid), which could self-assemble to form nanoparticles with a narrow size distribution, was synthesized. Transmission electron microscopy showed that the nanoparticles were spherical in shape with diameters of about 120 nm. The phenylboronic acid rendered the glycopolymer nanoparticles glucose sensitive, which was evident from swelling behavior of the nanoparticles at different glucose concentrations and was found to be dependent on the glucose level. Insulin was efficiently encapsulated within the nanoparticles (up to 15%), and the release of insulin increased with an increase in the level of glucose in the medium. Cell viability tests proved that the glycopolymer nanoparticles had good cytocompatibility, due to which the glycopolymers have the potential to be used in biomedical fields.