Synthesis and characterization of biocompatible polyurethanes for controlled release of hydrophobic and hydrophilic drugs
Design of biocompatible and biodegradable polymer systems for sustained and controlled release of bioactive agents is critical for numerous biomedical applications. Here, we designed, synthesized, and characterized four polyurethane carrier systems for controlled release of model drugs. These polyurethanes are biocompatible and biodegradable because they consist of biocompatible poly(ethylene glycol) or poly(caprolactone diol) as soft segment, linear aliphatic hexamethylene diisocyanate or symmetrical aliphatic cyclic dicyclohexylmethane-4,4′-diisocyanate as hard segment, and biodegradable urethane linkage. They were characterized with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, atomic force microscope, and differential scanning calorimetry, whereas their degradation behaviors were investigated in both phosphate buffered saline and enzymatic solutions. By tuning polyurethane segments, different release profiles of hydrophobic and hydrophilic drugs were obtained in the absence and presence of enzymes. Such difference in release profiles was attributed to a complex interplay among structure, hydrophobicity, and degradability of polyurethanes, the size and hydrophobicity of drugs, and drug-polymer interactions. Different drug-polyurethane combinations modulated the distribution and location of the drugs in polymer matrix, thus inducing different drug release mechanisms. Our results highlight an important role of segmental structure of the polyurethane as an engineering tool to control drug release.
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