Polymeric prodrug–functionalized polypropylene films for sustained release of salicylic acid

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Medical devices decorated with salicylic acid-based polymer chains (polymeric prodrug) that slowly release this anti-inflammatory and anti-biofilm drug at the implantation site were designed. A “grafting from” method was implemented to directly grow chains of a polymerizable derivative of salicylic acid (2-methacryloyloxy-benzoic acid, 2MBA) onto polypropylene (PP). PP was modified both at bulk and on the surface with poly(2MBA) by means of an oxidative pre-irradiation method (60Co source), in order to obtain a grafted polymer in which salicylic acid units were linked by means of labile ester bonds. The grafting percent depended on absorbed dose, reaction time, temperature and monomer concentration. The functionalized films were analyzed regarding structure (FTIR-ATR, SEM-EDX, fluorescence microscopy), temperature stability (TGA), interaction with aqueous medium (water contact angle and swelling), pH-responsive release and cytocompatibility (fibroblasts). In the obtained poly(2MBA)-grafted biomaterial, poly(2MBA) behaved as a polymeric prodrug that regulates salicylic acid release once in contact with aqueous medium, showing pH-dependent release rate.

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