Biodegradable hollow fibres for the controlled release of drugs

J.M. Schakenraad, J.A. Oosterbaan, P. Nieuwenhuis, I. Molenaar, J. Olijslager, W. Potman, M.J.D. Eenink, J. Feijen

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Biodegradable hollow fibres of poly-l-lactic acid (PLLA) filled with a suspension of the contraceptive hormone levonorgestrel in castor oil were implanted subcutaneously in rats to study the rate of drug release, rate of biodegradation and tissue reaction caused by the implant. The in vivo drug release was compared with the release in vitro using different release media. Fibres, disinfected with alcohol showed a zero-order release, both in vitro and in vivo, for over 6 months. Fibres, either γ-sterilized or disinfected with alcohol were harvested at time intervals ranging from 1 d to 6 months after implantation. Molecular weights of PLLA, tensile strengths, and remaining amounts of drug were determined as a function of time. The tissue reaction can be described as a very moderate foreign body reaction with the initial presence of macrophages, which are gradually replaced by fibroblasts which form a collagen capsule. Molecular weight determinations of PLLA showed a decrease from an initial Mw of 1.59x10 5 to 5.5 × 10 4 in 4 months (after alcohol sterilization). A gradual decrease in fibre strength with time was observed which did not significantly impair the release rate of levonorgestrel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-120
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1988


  • Drugs
  • Hollow fibres
  • Poly(L-lactic acid)
  • Controlled release
  • Biodegradable


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