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A significant factor hindering the clinical translation of polymersomes as vesicular nanocarriers is the limited availability of comparative studies detailing their interaction with blood plasma proteins compared to liposomes. Here, polymersomes are self-assembled via film rehydration, solvent exchange, and polymerization-induced self-assembly using five different block copolymers. The hydrophilic blocks are composed of anti-fouling polymers, poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) or poly(2-methyl-2-oxazoline) (PMOXA), and all the data is benchmarked to PEGylated "stealth" liposomes. High colloidal stability in human plasma (HP) is confirmed for all but two tested nanovesicles. In situ fluorescence correlation spectroscopy measurements are then performed after incubating unlabeled nanovesicles with fluorescently labeled HP or the specific labeled plasma proteins, human serum albumin, and clusterin (apolipoprotein J). The binding of HP to PMOXA-polymersomes could explain their relatively short circulation times found previously. In contrast, PEGylated liposomes also interact with HP but accumulate high levels of clusterin, providing them with their known prolonged circulation time. The absence of significant protein binding for most PEG-polymersomes indicates mechanistic differences in protein interactions and associated downstream effects, such as cell uptake and circulation time, compared to PEGylated liposomes. These are key observations for bringing polymersomes closer to clinical translation and highlighting the importance of such comparative studies.

Original publication




Journal article


Macromol Biosci

Publication Date



fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, human plasma protein fouling, liposome, polymersome, protein corona