The diversified combination of nanostructure and material has received considerable attention from researchers to exploit advanced functional materials. In drug delivery systems, the hydrophilicity and sustained–release drug properties are in opposition. Thus, difficulties remain in the simultaneous improve sustained–release drug properties and increase the hydrophilicity of materials.
In this work, we proposed a modified triaxial electrospinning strategy to fabricate functional core–shell fibres, which could elaborate design of shell component for manipulating the sustained-release drug. Cellulose acetate (CA) was designed as the main polymeric matrix, whereas polyethylene glycol (PEG) was added as a hydrophilic material in the middle layer. Cur, as a model drug, was stored in the inner layer.
Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) results and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) demonstrated that the cylindrical F2–F4 fibres had a clear core–shell structure. The model drug Cur in fibres was verified in an amorphous form during the X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns, and Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) results indicated good compatibility with the CA matrix. The water contact angle test showed that functional F2–F4 fibres had a high hydrophilic property in 120 s and the control sample F1 needed over 0.5 h to obtain hydrophilic property. In the initial stage of moisture intrusion into fibres, the quickly dissolved PEG component guided the water molecules and rapidly eroded the internal structure of functional fibres. The good hydrophilicity of F2–F4 fibres brought relatively excellent swelling rate around 4600%. Blank outer layer of functional F2 fibres with 1% PEG created an exciting opportunity for providing a 96 h sustained-release drug profile, while F3 and F4 fibres with over 3% PEG provided a 12 h modified drug release profile to eliminate tailing–off effect.
Here, the functional F2–F4 fibres had been successfully produced by using the advanced modified triaxial electrospinning nanotechnology with different polymer matrices. The simple strategy in this work has remarkable potential to manipulate hydrophilicity and sustained release of drug carriers, meantime it can also enrich the preparation approaches of functional nanomaterials.