The role of hydrophobic modification on hyaluronic acid dynamics and self-assembly

William M Payne, Denis Svechkarev, Alexander Kyrychenko, Aaron M Mohs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The advent of nanomedicine has rejuvenated the need for increased understanding of the fundamental physicochemical properties of polymeric amphiphiles. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a hydrophilic polysaccharide that is frequently conjugated to hydrophobic moieties and then used to entrap dyes and therapeutics. Here, we develop computational models to examine the effects of the hydrophobic modification on supramolecular behavior among three systematically designed HA derivatives substituted with alkyl chains of increasing length. Our simulations coalesce with experimentally obtained results to demonstrate the dependence of supramolecular behavior on intramolecular forces. We show that the formation of clearly defined hydrophobic domains in samples of octadecylamine-modified HA compared to HA conjugates with shorter alkyl chains is a result of more favorable hydrophobic interactions. Trends in hydrodynamic radius and polydispersity are observed in experimental results that coalesce with theoretical calculations, suggesting that supramolecular properties are dependent on the physicochemical characteristics of individual polymer strands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-141
Number of pages10
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
StatePublished - Feb 15 2018


  • Carbohydrate Conformation
  • Hyaluronic Acid/chemical synthesis
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • Surface-Active Agents/chemical synthesis


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