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In vitro degradation rate of apatitic calcium phosphate cement with incorporated PLGA microspheres

Acta Biomaterialia
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2011.05.036
  • Calcium Phosphate Cement
  • Plga
  • Microspheres
  • Degradation
  • In Vitro
  • Chemistry


Abstract Calcium phosphate cements (CPCs) are frequently used as bone substitute material. Despite their superior clinical handling and excellent biocompatibility, they exhibit poor degradability, which limits bone ingrowth into the implant. Microspheres were prepared from poly( d, l-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) and included in injectable CPCs as porogens in order to enhance its macroporosity after the polymeric microspheres had degraded. Upon degradation of the PLGA microspheres, acid is produced that enhances the dissolution rate of the CPC. However, the effect of the characteristics of PLGA microspheres on the degradation rate of CPCs has never been studied before. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to investigate the dependence of CPC degradation on the chemical and morphological characteristics of incorporated PLGA microspheres. With respect to the chemical characteristics of the PLGA microspheres, the effects of both PLGA molecular weight (5, 17 and 44 kDa) and end-group functionalization (acid-terminated or end-capped) were studied. In addition, two types of PLGA microspheres, differing in morphology (hollow vs. dense), were tested. The results revealed that, although both chemical parameters clearly affected the polymer degradation rate when embedded as hollow microspheres in CPC, the PLGA and CPC degradation rates were mainly dependent on the end-group functionalization. Moreover, it was concluded that dense microspheres were more efficient porogens than hollow ones by increasing the CPC macroporosity during in vitro incubation. By combining all test parameters, it was concluded that dense PLGA microspheres consisting of acid-terminated PLGA of 17 kDa exhibited the highest and fastest acid-producing capacity and correspondingly the highest and fastest amount of porosity. In conclusion, the data presented here indicate that the combination of dense, acid-terminated PLGA microspheres with CPC emerges as a successful combination to achieve enhanced apatitic CPC degradation.

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