Two in vivo degradation studies were performed on segmented poly(ether ester)s based on polyethylene glycol (PEG) and poly(butylene terephthalate) (PBT) (PEOT/PBT). In a first series of experiments, the in vivo degradation of melt-pressed discs of different copolymer compositions were followed up for 24 weeks after subcutaneous implantation in rats. The second series of experiments aimed to simulate long-term in vivo degradation. For this, PEOT/PBT samples were pre-degraded in phosphate buffer saline (PBS) at 100°C and subsequently implanted. In both series, explanted materials were characterized by intrinsic viscosity measurements, mass loss, proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-NMR) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). In both studies the copolymer with the higher PEO content degraded the fastest, although all materials degraded relatively slowly. To determine the nature of the degradation products formed during hydrolysis of the copolymers, 1000 PEOT71PBT29 (a copolymer based on PEG with a molecular weight of 1000 g/mol and 71 wt% of PEO-containing soft segments) was degraded in vitro at 100°C in phosphate buffer saline (PBS) during 14 days. The degradation products present in PBS were analyzed by 1H-NMR and high performance liquid chromatography/mass spectroscopy (HPLC/MS). These degradation products consisted of a fraction with high contents of PEO that was soluble in PBS and a PEOT/PBT fraction that was insoluble at room temperature. From the different in vitro and in vivo degradation experiments performed, it can be concluded that PEOT/PBT degradation is a slow process and generates insoluble polymeric residues with high PBT contents.
Deschamps, A. A., van Apeldoorn, A. A., Hayen, H., de Bruijn, J. D., Karst, U., Grijpma, D. W., & Feijen, J. (2004). In vivo and in vitro degradation of poly(ether ester) block copolymers based on poly(ethylene glycol) and poly(butylene terephthalate. Biomaterials, 25(2), 247-258. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0142-9612(03)00495-2