Degradable polyphosphazene/poly(α-hydroxyester) blends: Degradation studies

Archel M.A. Ambrosio, Harry R. Allcock, Dhirendra S. Katti, Cato T. Laurencin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Biomaterials based on the polymers of lactic acid and glycolic acid and their copolymers are used or studied extensively as implantable devices for drug delivery, tissue engineering and other biomedical applications. Although these polymers have shown good biocompatibility, concerns have been raised regarding their acidic degradation products, which have important implications for long-term implantable systems. Therefore, we have designed a novel biodegradable polyphosphazene/poly(α-hydroxyester) blend whose degradation products are less acidic than those of the poly(α-hydroxyester) alone. In this study, the degradation characteristics of a blend of poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (50:50 PLAGA) and poly[(50% ethyl glycinato)(50% p-methylphenoxy) phosphazene] (PPHOS-EG50) were qualitatively and quantitatively determined with comparisons made to the parent polymers. Circular matrices (14 mm diameter) of the PLAGA, PPHOS-EG50 and PLAGA-PPHOS-EG50 blend were degraded in non-buffered solutions (pH 7.4). The degraded polymers were characterized for percentage mass loss and molecular weight and the degradation medium was characterized for acid released in non-buffered solutions. The amounts of neutralizing base necessary to bring about neutral pH were measured for each polymer or polymer blend during degradation. The poly(phosphazene)/poly(lactide-co-glycolide) blend required significantly less neutralizing base in order to bring about neutral solution pH during the degradation period studied. The results indicated that the blend degraded at a rate intermediate to that of the parent polymers and that the degradation products of the polyphosphazene neutralized the acidic degradation products of PLAGA. Thus, results from these in vitro degradation studies suggest that the PLAGA-PPHOS-EG50 blend may provide a viable improvement to biomaterials based on acid-releasing organic polymers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1667-1672
Number of pages6
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials


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