Controllable degradation product migration from biomedical polyester-ethers

Abstract: The use of degradable biomedical materials has during the past decades indeed modernized medical science, finding applications in e.g. tissue engineering and drug delivery. The key question is to adapt the material with respect to mechanical properties, surface characteristics and degradation profile to suit the specific application. Degradation products are generally considered non-toxic and they are excreted from the human body. However, large amounts of hydroxy acids may induce a pH decrease and a subsequent inflammatory response at the implantation site. In this study, macromolecular design and a combination of cross-linking and adjusted hydrophilicity are utilized as tools to control and tailor degradation rate and subsequent release of degradation products from biomedical polyester-ethers. A series of different homo- and copolymers of -caprolactone (CL) and 1,5-dioxepan-2-one (DXO) were synthesized and their hydrolytic degradation was monitored in phosphate buffer solution at pH 7.4 and 37 °C for up to 546 days. The various materials comprised linear DXO/CL triblock and multiblock copolymers, PCL linear homopolymer and porous structure, and random cross-linked homo- and copolymers of CL/DXO using 2,2’-bis-(ε-caprolactone-4-yl) propane (BCP) as a cross-linking agent. The results showed that macromolecular engineering and controlled hydrophilicity of cross-linked networks were useful implements for customizing the release rate of acidic degradation products in order to prevent the formation of local acidic environments and thereby reduce the risk of inflammatory responses in the body.