A simple, inexpensive, and rapid electrophoresis technique was developed for use as a routine tool for evaluating purity of polyamidoamine (PAMAM) dendrimers. A variety of factors influencing migration of generations 0-7 dendrimers on nongradient polyacrylamide gels were evaluated. The low generation dendrimers were found to be very sensitive to diffusion during or after electrophoresis. The proposed method incorporates steps that minimize diffusion, in order to obtain improved resolution and sensitivity, especially for the lower-molecular-weight dendrimers. This was accomplished by inclusion of a dendrimer fixation step with glutaraldehyde and performing the electrophoresis separation, fixation, staining, and destaining at 4°C. PAMAM dendrimer separation was studied under basic and acidic conditions. Electrophoresis under acidic conditions gave increased resolution and sensitivity over separation at alkaline pH. Oligomers and trailing generations could be clearly separated and visualized under these conditions. The smallest PAMAM dendrimer, generation 0, was visible at 1.5 μg under the optimized acidic conditions. With slight modifications, this technique should be applicable to separation of other water-soluble dendrimers.
- Nongradient polyacrylamide gel
- Polyamidoamine dendrimer