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Biomed Mater. 2008 Mar;3(1):015010. doi: 10.1088/1748-6041/3/1/015010. Epub 2008 Feb 6.

Cytotoxicity and thermomechanical behavior of biomedical shape-memory polymer networks post-sterilization.

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  • 1Research and Development, MedShape Solutions Inc., Atlanta, GA, USA.


Shape-memory polymers (SMPs) are being increasingly proposed for use in biomedical devices. This paper investigates the cytotoxicity, surface characteristics and thermomechanics of two acrylate-based SMP networks as a function of sterilization using a minimal essential media elution test, FTIR-ATR and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA). Networks sterilized by low-temperature plasma elicited a cytotoxic response and are shown to completely destroy the cell monolayer. FTIR-ATR analysis showed evidence of surface oxidation with an increase and broadening of the absorbance peak from approximately 3500 to 3100 cm(-1), which is associated with an increase in hydroxyl groups. DMA revealed small, but statistically significant, differences in reduction of the glass transition temperatures of both networks when sterilized with gamma irradiation. One network showed an increase in rubbery modulus, which is an indication of crosslink density, after gamma irradiation. Lastly, practical sterilization concerns of SMP devices are discussed in light of the different methods.

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