In vitro and in vivo degradation profile of aliphatic polyesters subjected to electron beam sterilization
Degradation characteristics in response to electron beam sterilization of designed and biodegradable aliphatic polyester scaffolds are relevant for clinically successful synthetic graft tissue regeneration. Scaffold degradation in vitro and in vivo were documented and correlated to the macroscopic structure and chemical design of the original polymer. The materials tested were of inherently diverse hydrophobicity and crystallinity: poly(l-lactide) (poly(LLA)) and random copolymers from l-lactide and ε-caprolactone or 1,5-dioxepan-2-one, fabricated into porous and non-porous scaffolds. After sterilization, the samples underwent hydrolysis in vitro for up to a year. In vivo, scaffolds were surgically implanted into rat calvarial defects and retrieved for analysis after 28 and 91 days. In vitro, poly(l-lactide-co-1,5-dioxepan-2-one) (poly(LLA-co-DXO)) samples degraded most rapidly during hydrolysis, due to the pronounced chain-shortening reaction caused by the sterilization. This was indicated by the rapid decrease in both mass and molecular weight of poly(LLA-co-DXO). Poly(l-lactide-co-ε-caprolactone) (poly(LLA-co-CL)) samples were also strongly affected by sterilization, but mass loss was more gradual; molecular weight decreased rapidly during hydrolysis. Least affected by sterilization were the poly(LLA) samples, which subsequently showed low mass loss rate and molecular weight decrease during hydrolysis. Mechanical stability varied greatly: poly(LLA-co-CL) withstood mechanical testing for up to 182 days, while poly(LLA) and poly(LLA-co-DXO) samples quickly became too brittle. Poly(LLA-co-DXO) samples unexpectedly degraded more rapidly in vitro than in vivo. After sterilization by electron beam irradiation, the three biodegradable polymers present widely diverse degradation profiles, both in vitro and in vivo. Each exhibits the potential to be tailored to meet diverse clinical tissue engineering requirements.
Journal: Acta Biomaterialia - Volume 7, Issue 5, May 2011, Pages 2035–2046