The in vivo degradation, absorption and excretion of PCL-based implant

Biomaterials. 2006 Mar;27(9):1735-40. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2005.09.019. Epub 2005 Sep 29.


The in vivo degradation of poly (epsilon-caprolactone)(PCL) was observed for 3 years in rats. The distribution, absorption and excretion of PCL were traced in rats by radioactive labeling. The results showed that PCL capsules with initial molecular weight (Mw) of 66000 remained intact in shape during 2-year implantation. It broke into low molecular weight (Mw=8000) pieces at the end of 30 months. The Mw of PCL deceased with time and followed a linear relationship between logMw and time. Tritium-labeled PCL (Mw 3000) was subcutaneous implanted in rats to investigate its absorption and excretion. The radioactive tracer was first detected in plasma 15 days after implantation. At the same time radioactive excreta was recovered from feces and urine. An accumulative 92% of the implanted radioactive tracer was excreted from feces and urine by 135 days after implantation. In the mean while, the plasma radioactivity dropped to the background level. Radioactivity in the organs was all close to the background level confirming that the material did not cumulate in body tissue and could be completely excreted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorbable Implants*
  • Animals
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Female
  • Molecular Weight
  • Polyesters / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Tritium / analysis
  • Tritium / metabolism
  • Tritium / urine


  • Polyesters
  • Tritium
  • polycaprolactone