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Amsterdam-Zuidoost, Netherlands

Smit T.H.,VU University Amsterdam | Smit T.H.,Skeletal Tissue Engineering Group | Engels T.A.P.,TU Eindhoven | Sontjens S.H.M.,TU Eindhoven | Govaert L.E.,TU Eindhoven
Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine

With their excellent biocompatibility and relatively high mechanical strength, polylactides are attractive candidates for application in load-bearing, resorbable implants. Pre-clinical studies provided a proof of principle for polylactide cages as temporary constructs to facilitate spinal fusion, and several cages already made it to the market. However, also failures have been reported: clinical studies reported considerable amounts of subsidence with lumbar spinal fusion cages, and in an in vivo goat study, polylactide spinal cages failed after only three months of implantation, although mechanical testing had predicted sufficient strength for at least eight months. The failures appear to be related to the long-term performance of polylactides under static loading conditions, a phenomenon which is common to all glassy polymers and finds its origin in stress-activated molecular mobility leading to plastic flow. This paper reviews the mechanical properties and deformation kinetics of amorphous polylactides. Compression tests were performed with various strain rates, and static stress experiments were done to determine time-to failure. Pure PLLA appeared to have a higher yield strength than its co-polymers with d-lactide, but the kinetic behaviour of the polymers was the same: an excellent short-term strength at higher loading rates, but lifetime under static stress is rather poor. As spinal implants need to maintain mechanical integrity for a period of at least six months, this has serious implications for the clinical application of amorphous polylactides in load bearing situations. It is recommended that standards for mechanical testing of implants made of polymers be revised in order to consider this typical time-dependent behaviour. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. Source

Kroeze R.J.,VU University Amsterdam | Kroeze R.J.,Skeletal Tissue Engineering Group | Helder M.N.,VU University Amsterdam | Helder M.N.,Skeletal Tissue Engineering Group | And 6 more authors.
Acta Biomaterialia

Bioabsorbable polymers are increasingly being used in tissue engineering strategies. Despite the knowledge that some sterilization techniques may affect the physical properties of these polymers, this aspect is often overlooked. We speculate that the type of sterilization method used may influence cellular responses by altering the surface characteristics. We cultured adipose stem cells on bioabsorbable poly(L-lactide-co-caprolactone) (PLCL) sheets, sterilized using either ethylene oxide (EO), argon glow discharge (aGD) or electron beam (e-beam). Significantly higher values for surface roughness in the order EO > aGD > e-beam and significant differences in contact angles (EO > e-beam > aGD) and surface energies (aGD > e-beam > EO) were observed. Increased cell attachment and proliferation rates were observed with lower contact angles. The alkaline phosphatase activity was significantly higher for the ethylene oxide sterilized PLCL sheet. In conclusion, the type of sterilization for bioabsorbable polymers should be considered in the design of new scaffolds, since it might affect, or can be used to enhance, the outcome of the tissue engineered construct. © 2009 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

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