3D-printed reservoir-type implants containing poly(lactic acid)/poly(caprolactone) porous membranes for sustained drug delivery

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Implantable drug delivery systems are an interesting alternative to conventional drug delivery systems to achieve local or systemic drug delivery. In this work, we investigated the potential of fused-deposition modelling to prepare reservoir-type implantable devices for sustained drug delivery. An antibiotic was chosen as a model molecule to evaluate the potential of this type of technology to prepare implants on-demand to provide prophylactic antimicrobial treatment after surgery. The first step was to prepare and characterize biodegradable rate-controlling porous membranes based on poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and poly(caprolactone) (PCL). These membranes were prepared using a solvent casting method. The resulting materials contained different PLA/PCL ratios. Cylindrical implants were 3D-printed vertically on top of the membranes. Tetracycline (TC) was loaded inside the implants and drug release was evaluated. The results suggested that membranes containing a PLA/PCL ratio of 50/50 provided drug release over periods of up to 25 days. On the other hand, membranes containing lower PCL content did not show a porous structure and accordingly the drug could not permeate to the same extent. The influence of different parameters on drug release was evaluated. It was established that film thickness, drug content and implant size are critical parameters as they have a direct influence on drug release kinetics. In all cases the implants were capable of providing drug release for at least 25 days. The antimicrobial properties of the implants were evaluated against E. coli and S. aureus. The resulting implants showed antimicrobial properties at day 0 and even after 21 days against both type of microorganisms. Finally, the biocompatibility of the implants was evaluated using endothelial cells. Cells exposed to implants were compared with a control group. There were no differences between both groups in terms of cell proliferation and morphology.
Original languageEnglish
Article number213024
JournalBiomaterials Advances
Early online date28 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2022


  • 3D-printing
  • Implantable devices
  • Biodegradable membranes
  • Sustained drug release
  • Tetracycline


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