Poloxamer 407 is a hydrophilic non-ionic surfactant of the more general class of copolymers known as poloxamers. Poloxamer 407 is a triblock copolymer consisting of a central hydrophobic block of polypropylene glycol flanked by two hydrophilic blocks of polyethylene glycol. The approximate lengths of the two PEG blocks is 101 repeat units while the approximate length of the propylene gycol block is 56 repeat units. This particular compound is also known by the BASF trade name Pluronic F127.
Uses of poloxamer 407
Most of the common uses of poloxamer 407 are related to its surfactant properties. For example, it is widely used in cosmetics for dissolving oily ingredients in water. It can also be found in multi-purpose contact lens cleaning solutions, where its purpose there is to help remove lipid films from the lens. It can also be found in some mouthwashes. There is a research ongoing for using poloxamer 407 for aligning severed blood vessels before gluing them surgically.
Reports of adverse effects
It was reported in The Australian newspaper 18 November 2006 that this common ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash can cause high cholesterol in mice. A team from the Centre for Ageing and the ANZAC Research Institute in Sydney used it as a tool to demonstrate that cells in the liver behave like a sieve. They gave a high dose (1 gram per kilogram of body weight) of Poloxamer 407 to mice which blocked 80% of the pores in liver cells that absorb lipoproteins, leading to a 10-fold increase in plasma lipid levels.  However, the dose used is much higher than a person would be exposed to in toothpaste or mouthwash.
- Tania Betancourt; The University of Texas at Austin. Biomedical Engineering (2007). Targetable biodegradable nanoparticles for delivery of chemotherapeutic and imaging agents to ovarian cancer. ProQuest. pp. 130–. ISBN 978-0-549-34761-3. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
- Stanford University Medical Center (28 August 2011). "Sutureless method for joining blood vessels invented". ScienceDaily.
- O'Neill, Craig (18 November 2006). "Dental hygiene gives you a brush with cholesterol". The Australian.
- Cogger, VC; Hilmer, SN, Sullivan, D, Muller, M, Fraser, R, Le Couteur, DG (2006 Dec). "Hyperlipidemia and surfactants: the liver sieve is a link.". Atherosclerosis 189 (2): 273–81. doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2005.12.025. PMID 16458315.
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