Drug delivery by nanoparticle carriers has been limited by inefficient intracellular drug delivery. Temperature-responsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm)-modified liposomes can release their content following heating. In this study, we synthesized the temperature-responsive polymer poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-co-N,N′-dimethylaminopropylacrylamide (P(NIPAAm-co-DMAPAAm)) and investigated the properties of liposomes modified with P(NIPAAm-co-DMAPAAm) for intracellular drug carriers. The copolymer displayed a thermosensitive transition at a lower critical solution temperature (LCST) that is higher than body temperature. Above the LCST, the temperature-responsive liposomes started to aggregate and release. The liposomes showed a fixed aqueous layer thickness (FALT) at the surface below the LCST, and the FALT decreased with increasing temperature. Above 37 °C, cytosolic release from the temperature-responsive liposomes was higher than that from the PEGylated liposomes, indicating intracellular uptake. Here, we showed that the tunable surface properties of the temperature-responsive polymer-modified liposomes possibly enabled their dehydration by heating, which likely induced a faster cellular uptake and release. Therefore, the liposomes could be highly applicable for improving intracellular drug-delivery carriers.
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