Synthesis, Characterization, and Study of PLGA Copolymer in Vitro Degradation


The poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid), known as PLGA, is one of the main bioreabsorbable polymers used in the field of medicine today. This copolymer is widely applied in sutures, devices geared toward the controlled release of medication, and the guided regeneration of bone tissue as it presents a short degradation time. This work aimed to synthesize the 82/18 PLGA (expressed by the mass ratio of D,L-lactide and glycolide, respectively), to characterize and study the in Vitro degradation in the form of rods in phosphate buffer solution (PBS). The copolymer was synthesized by opening the cyclic dimer rings of the monomers D,L-lactide and glycolide, in the presence of the tin octanoate initiator and of the lauryl alcohol co-initiator. The characterization of the copolymer and the follow-up of its in vitro degradation were studied using: Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), Thermogravimetry (TG), Infrared Molecular Absorption Spectroscopy with Fourier Transform (FTIR), Rheometry, and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Through these characterization techniques, it was possible to obtain the glass transition temperature, thermal stability, chemical composition, morphology, and molar mass of both the synthesized and the degraded copolymer. The molar mass of the synthesized copolymer was, approximately, 106 g·mol-1. The degradation rate of PLGA significantly increased from the 19th to the 28th day in PBS. After 28 days in PBS, the glass transition temperature and the molar mass reduced from 45°C to 17°C and from 1.5 × 106 g·mol-1 to 7.5 × 10g·mol-1, respectively. The pH of the medium has a significant influence on the copolymer degradation profile. When it diminishes, it accelerates the degradation process, resulting in smaller PLGA polymer chains. This pH dependent degradation can be useful for drug release systems.

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Silva, A. , Cardoso, B. , Silva, M. , Freitas, R. and Sousa, R. (2015) Synthesis, Characterization, and Study of PLGA Copolymer in Vitro Degradation. Journal of Biomaterials and Nanobiotechnology, 6, 8-19. doi: 10.4236/jbnb.2015.61002.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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