The fate of ultrafast degrading polymeric implants in the brain

Dan Y. Lewitus, Karen L. Smith, William Shain, Durgadas Bolikal, Joachim Kohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We have recently reported on an ultrafast degrading tyrosine-derived terpolymer that degrades and resorbs within hours, and is suitable for use in cortical neural prosthetic applications. Here we further characterize this polymer, and describe a new tyrosine-derived fast degrading terpolymer in which the poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) is replaced by poly(trimethylene carbonate) (PTMC). This PTMC containing terpolymer showed similar degradation characteristics but its resorption was negligible in the same period. Thus, changes in the polymer chemistry allowed for the development of two ultrafast degrading polymers with distinct difference in resorption properties. The in vivo tissue response to both polymers used as intraparenchymal cortical devices was compared to poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA). Slow resorbing, indwelling implant resulted in continuous glial activation and loss of neural tissue. In contrast, the fast degrading tyrosine-derived terpolymer that is also fast resorbing, significantly reduced both the glial response in the implantation site and the neuronal exclusion zone. Such polymers allow for brain tissue recovery, thus render them suitable for neural interfacing applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5543-5550
Number of pages8
Issue number24
StatePublished - Aug 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


  • Biodegradation
  • Bioerosion
  • Brain tissue response
  • Tyrosine-derived terpolymer
  • Ultrafast degrading polymers


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