Poly(α-hydroxy acid)s and poly(α-hydroxy acid-co-α-amino acid)s derived from amino acid

Arijit Basu, Konda Reddy Kunduru, Joshua Katzhendler, Abraham J. Domb

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Polyesters derived from the α-hydroxy acids, lactic acid, and glycolic acid, are the most common biodegradable polymers in clinical use. These polymers have been tailored for a range of applications that require a physical material possessing. The physical and mechanical properties of these polymers fit the specific application and also safely biodegrade. These polymers are hydrophobic and do not possess functional side groups. This does not allow hydrophilic or hydrophobic manipulation, conjugation of active agents along the polymer chain, etc. These manipulations have partly been achieved by block copolymerization with, for example, poly(ethylene glycol), to obtain an amphiphilic copolymer. The objective of this review is to survey PLA functional copolymers in which functional α-hydroxy acids derived from amino acids are introduced along the polymer chain, allowing endless manipulation of PLA. Biodegradable functional polyesters are one of the most versatile biomaterials available to biomedical scientists. Amino acids with their variable side chains are ideal candidates for synthesizing such structural as well as stereochemically diverse polymers. They render control over functionalization, conjugation, crosslinking, stimulus responsiveness, and tunable mechanical/thermal properties. Functionalized amino acid derived polyesters are widely used, mainly due to advancement in ring opening polymerization (primarily O-carboxyanhydride mediated). The reaction proceeds under milder conditions and yields high molecular weight polymers. We reviewed on advances in the synthetic methodologies for poly-α-hydroxy esters derived from amino acids with appropriate recent examples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-96
Number of pages15
JournalAdvanced Drug Delivery Reviews
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Amino acids
  • Poly(α-hydroxy esters)
  • Polyesteramide
  • Ring opening polymerization


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