In vitro and in vivo degradation of poly(propylene fumarate-co-ethylene glycol) hydrogels

Laura J. Suggs, Ravi S. Krishnan, C. Alejandra Garcia, Susan J. Peter, James M. Anderson, Antonios G. Mikos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


The degradation of poly(propylene fumarate-coethylene glycol) hydrogels was examined in vitro in phosphate-buffered saline at pH 7.4 and in vivo in a subcutaneous rat model. These hydrogels have potential application as biodegradable, injectable cardiovascular stents, and, as such, their mass loss, dimensional changes, mechanical properties, morphology, and biocompatiblity over a 12-week time course were evaluated. Three formulations were fabricated: one base formulation consisting of 25% (w/w) PEG, molecular weight 4,600; one high weight percent PEG formulation with 50% (w/w) PEG; and one high molecular weight PEG formulation, molecular weight 10,500. All three formulations showed significant weight loss (between 40 and 60%) on the first day due to leaching of the uncrosslinked fraction. Further weight loss was observed only for the low weight percent PEG copolymers in the in vivo case, and a slight increase in volume was observed due to degradative swelling. The mechanical properties of the P(PF-co-EG) hydrogels decreased significantly in the first 3 weeks, showing the biphasic pattern typical of bulk degradation. In vitro, the hydrogels showed at least a 20% retention of their initial ultimate tensile stress after 3 weeks. The dynamic mechanical properties showed similar retention, with the in vivo mechanical properties differing from the in vitro properties only after 6 weeks of degradation. Differences in PEG molecular weight appeared to have little effect, but increasing the weight percent PEG decreased the rate of degradation both in vitro and in vivo. The morphology of the copolymer films, based on scanning electron microscopy observation, was not significantly different either among the three formulations or over the time course of the study, suggesting there were no macroscopic structural changes during this time period. The P(PF-co- EG) hydrogels demonstrated good initial biocompatibility, showing responses characteristic of biomaterial implants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-320
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodegradation
  • Cardiovascular stents
  • Hydrogels
  • Poly(ethylene glycol)
  • Poly(propylene fumarate)
  • Tissue engineered implants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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