Poly(epsilon-caprolactone) and poly(epsilon-caprolactone)-polyvinylpyrrolidone-iodine blends as ureteral biomaterials: characterisation of mechanical and surface properties, degradation and resistance to encrustation in vitro.

Medical Devices Unit, School of Pharmacy, Medical Biology Centre, The Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK.
Biomaterials (Impact Factor: 8.31). 01/2003; 23(23):4449-58. DOI: 10.1016/S0142-9612(02)00158-8
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study describes the physicochemical properties and in vitro resistance to encrustation of solvent cast films composed of either poly(epsilon-caprolactone) (PCL), prepared using different ratios of high (50,000) to low (4000) (molecular weight) m.wt., or blends of PCL and the polymeric antimicrobial complex, poly(vinylpyrrolidone)-iodine (PVP-I). The incorporation of PVP-I offered antimicrobial activity to the biomaterials. Films were characterised in terms of mechanical (tensile analysis, dynamic mechanical thermal analysis) and surface properties (dynamic contact angle analysis, scanning electron microscopy), whereas degradation (at 37 degrees C in PBS at pH 7.4) was determined gravimetrically. The resistance of the films to encrustation was evaluated using an in vitro encrustation model. Reductions in the ratio of high:low-m.wt. PCL significantly reduced the ultimate tensile strength, % elongation at break and the advancing contact angle of the films. These effects were attributed to alterations in the amorphous content and the more hydrophilic nature of the films. Conversely, there were no alterations in Young's modulus, the viscoelastic properties and glass-transition temperature. Incorporation of PVP-I did not affect the mechanical or rheological properties of the films, indicative of a limited interaction between the two polymers in the solid state. Manipulation of the high:low m.wt. ratio of PCL significantly altered the degradation of the films, most notably following longer immersion periods, and resistance to encrustation. Accordingly, maximum degradation and resistance to encrustation was observed with the biomaterial composed of 40:60 high:low m.wt. ratios of PCL; however, the mechanical properties of this system were considered inappropriate for clinical application. Films composed of either 50:50 or 60:40 ratio of high:low m.wt. PCL offered an appropriate compromise between physicochemical properties and resistance to encrustation. This study has highlighted the important usefulness of degradable polymer systems as ureteral biomaterials.

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