Polymeric porous particles are currently used for various applications in biotechnology, tissue engineering and pharmaceutical science, e.g., floating drug delivery systems and inhaled formulations. Particle shape and size depend on variable parameters; among them, polymer type and concentration, stirring speed, pH and type of solvent. In this study, porous poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) and poly(d,l-lactide) (PLA) microspheres (MPs), with varying sizes and morphologies, were synthesized and optimized using both batch formulation and a flow-focusing microfluidic device. A well-established method of preparation utilizing solvent evaporation and the double emulsion technique was performed. Similar to other batch encapsulation methods, this technique is time and reagent consuming and consists of several steps. Hence, although porous structures provide tremendous opportunity in the design of new applications for tissue engineering and as improved controlled-release carriers, the synthesis of these particles with predefined properties remains challenging. We demonstrated the fabrication of porous MPs using a simple microfluidic device, compared to batch synthesis fabrication; and the effect of solvent, polymer concentration and type, post-hydrolysis treatment, on porosity degree. Moreover, a kinetic release study of fluorescent molecule was conducted for non-porous in comparison to porous particles. An overview of future prospects and the potential of these porous beads in this scientific area are discussed.
Keywords: PLA; PLGA; focused-flow; microfluidics; porosity; porous microspheres; tissue engineering.