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Biomaterials. 2006 Jul;27(20):3800-9. Epub 2006 Mar 27.

Fabrication and characterization of permeable degradable poly(DL-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) hollow fiber phase inversion membranes for use as nerve tract guidance channels.

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Department of Bioengineering, Keck Center for Tissue Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.


Biodegradable permeable poly(DL-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) hollow fiber membranes (HFMs) were fabricated using a wet phase inversion technique. By varying several parameters, such as the spinneret size, solvent and non-solvent pair, polymer concentration, flow rate, precipitation method, drop height, and small molecular pore-forming agents, PLGA HFMs with variable sizes, surface morphologies, porosities, and diffusive permeability were obtained. Under simulated physiological conditions in vitro, PLGA HFMs exhibited a degradation profile to accommodate nervous system regeneration and axonal outgrowth. While accelerated degradation resulted in substantial molecular weight loss starting at 2 weeks and loss of selective permeability at 3 weeks, PLGA HFMs maintained gross structural integrity in the first 4 weeks, followed by sharp weight loss at 6 weeks and complete disappearance at about 8 weeks. When compared to the raw PLGA material in a pellet form, which underwent heterogeneous degradation, the PLGA HFMs exhibited a homogeneous degradation where the surface and bulk degraded at approximately the same rate, and an overall lower degradation rate. Our results indicate that using a wet phase inversion technique, degradable HFMs with variable size, inner and outer surface morphologies, porosity, and permeability with potential applications for nerve tract guidance conduits can be fabricated.

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