Biodegradation of porous versus non-porous poly(L-lactic acid) films

K.H. Lam, P. Nieuwenhuis, I. Molenaar, H. Esselbrugge, J. Feijen, P.J. Dijkstra, J.M. Schakenraad

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The influence of porosity on the degradation rate of poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA) films was investigated in vitro and in vivo. Non-porous, porous and “combi” (porous with a non-porous layer) PLLA films were used. Changes in Mw, Mn, polydispersity (Mw/Mn) ratio, melting temperature (Tm), heat of fusion, tensile strength, E-modulus, mass and the remaining surface area of cross-sections of the PLLA films were measured. In general, during the degradation process, the porous film has the highest Mw, Mn, Mw/Mn ratio and Tm, while the non-porous film has the lowest. In contrast, the highest heat of fusion values were observed for the non-porous film, indicating the presence of relatively smaller molecules forming crystalline domains more easily. The tensile strength and E-modulus of the non-porous film decrease faster than those of the porous and the combi film. None of the three types of films showed massive mass loss in vitro nor a significant decrease in remaining polymer surface area in light microscopical sections in vitro and in vivo. Heavy surface erosion of the non-porous layer of the combi film was observed after 180 days, turning the combi film into a porous film. This is also indicated by the changes in tensile strength, Mw, Mw/Mn, Tm and heat of fusion as a function of time. It is concluded that non-porous PLLA degrades faster than porous PLLA. Thus, in our model, porosity is an important determinant of the degradation rate of PLLA films.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-189
JournalJournal of materials science. Materials in medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1994


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