Effects of surface area to volume ratio of PLGA scaffolds with different architectures on scaffold degradation characteristics and drug release kinetics

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In this work, PLGA scaffolds with different architectures were fabricated to investigate the effects of surface area to volume ratio (SVR) (which resulted from the different architectures) on scaffold degradation characteristics and drug release kinetics with minocycline as the model drug. It was hypothesized that the thin strand scaffolds, which had the highest SVR, would degrade faster than the thick strand and globular scaffolds as the increase in surface area will allow more contact between water molecules and degradable ester groups in the polymer. However, it was found that globular scaffolds, which had the lowest SVR, resulted in the fastest degradation which demonstrated that the amount of degradation of the scaffolds does not only depend on the SVR but also on other factors such as the retention of acidic degradation byproducts in the scaffold and scaffold porosity. PLGA 50 : 50 globular scaffolds resulted in a biphasic release profile, with a burst release in the beginning and the middle of the release study which may be beneficial for some drug delivery applications. A clear correlation between SVR and release rates was not observed, indicating that besides the availability of more surface area for drug to diffuse out of the polymer matrix, other factors such as amount of scaffold degradation and scaffold porosity may play a role in determining drug release kinetics. Further studies, such as scanning electron microscopy, need to be performed in the future to further evaluate the porosity, morphology and structure of the scaffolds.



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Journal of biomedical materials research. Part A