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Biomaterials. 2005 Jun;26(18):3809-17.

Influence of electron-beam radiation on the hydrolytic degradation behaviour of poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA).

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School of Materials Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798, Singapore.


The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of electron-beam (e-beam) radiation on the hydrolytic degradation of poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) films. PLGA films were irradiated and observed to undergo radiation-induced degradation through chain scission, as observed from a drop in its average molecular weight with radiation dose. Irradiated (5, 10 and 20 Mrad) and non-irradiated (0 Mrad) samples of PLGA were subsequently hydrolytically degraded in phosphate-buffered saline solution at 37.0 degrees C over a span of 12 weeks. It was observed that the natural logarithmic molecular weight (lnMn) of PLGA decreases linearly with hydrolytic degradation time. The rate of water uptake is higher for samples irradiated at higher radiation dose (e.g. 20 Mrad) and subsequently causing an earlier onset of mass loss. It is postulated that the increase in water uptake is due to the presence of more hydrophilic end groups, which results in the formation of microcavities because of an increase in osmotic pressure. A relationship between radiation dose and the rate of hydrolytic degradation of PLGA films, through its molecular weight was also established. This relationship allows a more accurate and precise control of the life span of PLGA through the use of e-beam radiation.

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