Cellular interactions with biomaterials: In vivo cracking of pre-stressed pellethane 2363-80A



The phenomenon of stress cracking of Pellethane 2363-80A (PEU) was investigated using the cage implant system. A cytotoxic polyvinylchloride (PVC) and a silicone rubber containing an anti-inflammatory steroid were used to create inflammatory environments in which the biostability of the pre-stressed PEU was tested. These coimplants provided alternative in vivo environments to study in vivo polymer interactions. The inflammatory responses to the implanted cages were monitored by analyzing the exudates aspirated from the cages at different implantation times over 21 days. The pre-stressed PEU specimens were retrieved after 5, 10, and 15 weeks postimplantation and examined by optical microscopy (OM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results support the conclusion that in vivo cracking of stressed (strained) Pellethane 80A is related to cell–polymer interactions. Severe cracking or rupture of the implanted PEU specimens was observed as early as 5 weeks postimplantation. Molecular chain degradation of the implanted specimens was evident from molecular weight measurements. Neither surface cracking nor degradation of macromolecules was found on the pre-stressed PEU specimens with the added cytotoxic PVC implanted over 15 weeks. No cracking was observed on the pre-stressed specimens in the presence of steroid silicone rubber, even after 10 weeks implantation.