Synthesis of Degradable Poly(vinyl alcohol) by Radical Ring-Opening Copolymerization and Ice Recrystallization Inhibition Activity

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) is the most active synthetic mimic of antifreeze proteins and has extremely high ice recrystallization inhibition (IRI) activity. Addition of PVA to cellular cryopreservation solutions increases the number of recovered viable cells due to its potent IRI, but it is intrinsically nondegradable in vivo. Here we report the synthesis, characterization, and IRI activity of PVA containing degradable ester linkages. Vinyl chloroacetate (VClAc) was copolymerized with 2-methylene-1,3-dioxepane (MDO) which undergoes radical ring-opening polymerization to install main-chain ester units. The use of the chloroacetate monomer enabled selective deacetylation with retention of esters within the polymer backbone. Quantitative IRI assays revealed that the MDO content had to be finely tuned to retain IRI activity, with higher loadings (24 mol %) resulting in complete loss of IRI activity. These degradable materials will help translate PVA, which is nontoxic and biocompatible, into a range of biomedical applications.


Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1404–1408
JournalACS Macro Letters
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Poly(vinyl alcohol), antifreeze proteins, ice recrystallization inhibition, cellular cryopreservation, degradable ester linkages, Vinyl chloroacetate