Nitric oxide-releasing semi-crystalline thermoplastic polymers: preparation, characterization and application to devise anti-inflammatory and bactericidal implants
Semi-crystalline thermoplastics are an important class of biomaterials with applications in creating extracorporeal and implantable medical devices. In situ release of nitric oxide (NO) from medical devices can enhance their performance via NO's potent anti-thrombotic, bactericidal, anti-inflammatory, and angiogenic activity. However, NO-releasing semi-crystalline thermoplastic systems are limited and the relationship between polymer crystallinity and NO release profile is unknown. In this paper, the functionalization of poly(ether-block-amide) (PEBA), Nylon 12, and polyurethane tubes, as examples of semi-crystalline polymers, with the NO donor S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine (SNAP) within, is demonstrated via a polymer swelling method. The degree of crystallinity of the polymer plays a crucial role in both SNAP impregnation and NO release. Nylon 12, which has a relatively high degree of crystallinity, exhibits an unprecedented NO release duration of over 5 months at a low NO level, while PEBA tubing exhibits NO release over days to weeks. As a new biomedical application of NO, the NO-releasing PEBA tubing is examined as a cannula for continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion. The released NO is shown to enhance insulin absorption into the bloodstream probably by suppressing the tissue inflammatory response, and thereby could benefit insulin pump therapy for diabetes management.