Effects of fluid flow on the in vitro degradation kinetics of biodegradable scaffolds for tissue engineering

C. M. Agrawal, J. S. McKinney, D. Lanctot, K. A. Athanasiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

186 Scopus citations


Scaffolds fabricated from biodegradable polymers are used extensively in the field of tissue engineering. Many of these scaffolds are subjected to fluid flow, either in vivo or in bioreactors ex vivo. The goal of this study was to examine the effects of fluid flow on the degradation characteristics and kinetics of scaffolds in vitro. Scaffolds with different porosity and permeability values were fabricated using a copolymer of polylactic acid and polyglycolic acid. These scaffolds were subjected to degradation in phosphate buffered saline at 37 °C for up to 6 weeks under two test conditions: static and flow (250 μl/min). The porosity of the scaffolds decreased up to 2 weeks and then increased, while the elastic modulus first increased and then decreased over the course of the study. The mass and molecular weight of the scaffolds exhibited a steady decrease up to 6 weeks. The results further indicated that lower the porosity and permeability of the scaffolds, the faster their rate of degradation. Additionally, fluid flow decreased the degradation rate significantly. It is possible that the high rates of degradation observed here were due to autocatalysis of the degradation reaction by the acidic degradation products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2443-2452
Number of pages10
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000


  • Degradation
  • Flow
  • Polyglycolic acid
  • Polylactic acid
  • Scaffold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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