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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Degradation and protein release properties of microspheres prepared from biodegradable poly(lactide-co-glycolide) and ABA triblock copolymers: influence of buffer media on polymer erosion and bovine serum albumin release.

The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of the chemical insertion of poly(ethylene oxide), PEO, into a poly(lactide-co-glycolide), PLG, backbone on the mechanisms of in vitro degradation and erosion of the polymer. For this purpose microspheres prepared by a modified W/O/W double emulsion technique using ABA triblock copolymers, consisting of PLG A-blocks attached to central PEO B-blocks were compared with microspheres prepared from PLG. Due to their molecular architecture the ABA triblock copolymers differed in their erosion and degradation behavior from PLG. Degradation occurred faster in the ABA polymers by cleavage of ester bonds inside the polymer backbone. Even erosion was shown to start immediately after incubation in different buffer media. By varying pH and ionic strength of the buffer it was found that both mass loss and molecular weight decay were accelerated in alkaline and acidic pH in the case of the ABA triblock copolymers. Although the pH of the medium had a moderate influence on the degradation of PLG, the molecular weight decay was not accompanied by a mass loss during the observation time. In a second set of experiments we prepared bovine serum albumin, BSA, loaded microspheres from both polymers. The release of BSA from ABA microspheres under in vitro conditions parallels the faster swelling and erosion rates. This could be confirmed by electron paramagnetic resonance, EPR, measurements with spin labeled albumin where an influx of buffer medium into the ABA microspheres was already observed within a few minutes. In contrast, PLG microspheres revealed a burst release without any erosion. The current study shows that the environmental conditions affected the degradation and erosion of the pure polymer microspheres in the same way as the release of the model protein. This leads to the conclusion that the more favorable degradation profile of the ABA triblock copolymers was responsible for the improvement of the release profile.[1]


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