In vitro cytocompatibility testing of oxidative degradation products

Scott M. Herting, Mary Beth B. Monroe, Andrew C. Weems, Sam T. Briggs, Grace K. Fletcher, Samuel E. Blair, Christopher J. Hatch, Duncan J. Maitland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Implantable medical devices must undergo thorough evaluation to ensure safety and efficacy before use in humans. If a device is designed to degrade, it is critical to understand the rate of degradation and the degradation products that will be released. Oxidative degradation is typically modeled in vitro by immersing materials or devices in hydrogen peroxide, which can limit further analysis of degradation products in many cases. Here we demonstrate a novel approach for testing the cytocompatibility of degradation products for oxidatively-degradable biomaterials where the materials are exposed to hydrogen peroxide, and then catalase enzyme is used to convert the hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen so that the resulting aqueous solution can be added to cell culture media. To validate our results, expected degradation products are also synthesized then added to cell culture media. We used these methods to evaluate the cytocompatibility of degradation products from an oxidatively-degradable shape memory polyurethane designed in our lab and found that the degradation of these polymers is unlikely to cause a cytotoxic response in vivo based on the guidance provided by ISO 10993-5. These methods may also be applicable to other biocompatibility tests such as tests for mutagenicity or systemic toxicity, and evaluations of cell proliferation, migration, or gene and protein expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-211
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Bioactive and Compatible Polymers
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytotoxicity
  • biocompatibility
  • cytocompatibility
  • oxidative degradation
  • polyurethane
  • shape memory polymers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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