Our study focused on the long-term degradation under simulated conditions of coatings based on different compositions of polycaprolactone-polyethylene glycol blends (PCL-blend-PEG), fabricated for titanium implants by a dip-coating technique. The degradation behavior of polymeric coatings was evaluated by polymer mass loss measurements of the PCL-blend-PEG during immersion in SBF up to 16 weeks and correlated with those yielded from electrochemical experiments. The results are thoroughly supported by extensive compositional and surface analyses (FTIR, GIXRD, SEM, and wettability investigations). We found that the degradation behavior of PCL-blend-PEG coatings is governed by the properties of the main polymer constituents: the PEG solubilizes fast, immediately after the immersion, while the PCL degrades slowly over the whole period of time. Furthermore, the results evidence that the alteration of blend coatings is strongly enhanced by the increase in PEG content. The biological assessment unveiled the beneficial influence of PCL-blend-PEG coatings for the adhesion and spreading of both human-derived mesenchymal stem cells and endothelial cells.
Keywords: PCL-PEG blends; degradation; dip-coating; electrochemistry; mass loss.