Marked inflammatory sequelae to implantation of biodegradable and nonbiodegradable polymers in porcine coronary arteries

Willem J. Van der Giessen, A. Michael Lincoff, Robert S. Schwartz, Heleen M.M. Van Beusekom, Patrick W. Serruys, David R. Holmes, Stephen G. Ellis, Eric J. Topol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

783 Scopus citations


Background: With the thrombogenic tendency and permanent implant nature of metallic stents, synthetic polymers have been proposed as candidate materials for stents and local drug delivery designs. We investigated the biocompatibility of several synthetic polymers after experimental placement in the coronary artery. Methods and Results: Five different biodegradable polymers (polyglycolic acid/polylactic acid [PGLA], polycaprolactone [PCL], polyhydroxybutyrate valerate [PHBV], polyorthoester [POE], and polyethyleneoxide/polybutylene terephthalate [PEO/PBTP]) and three nonbiodegradable polymers (polyurethane [PUR], silicone [SIL], and polyethylene terephthalate [PETP]) were tested as strips deployed longitudinally across 90% of the circumferential surface of coil wire stents. Appropriately sized polymer-loaded stents were implanted in porcine coronary arteries of 2.5- to 3.0-mm diameter. Four weeks after implantation, stent patency was assessed by angiography followed by microscopic examination of the coronary arteries. The biodegradable PCL, PHBV, and POE and the nonbiodegradable PUR and SIL evoked extensive inflammatory responses and fibrocellular proliferation (thickness of tissue response; 0.79±0.22, 1.12±0.01, 2.36±0.60, 1.24±0.36, and 1.43±0.15 mm, respectively). Less but still severe responses were observed for the biodegradable PGLA and PEO/PBTP (0.46±0.18 and 0.61±0.23 mm, respectively) and for the nonbiodegradable PETP (0.46±0.11 mm). Conclusions: An array of both biodegradable and nonbiodegradable polymers has been demonstrated to induce a marked inflammatory reaction within the coronary artery with subsequent neointimal thickening, which was not expected on the basis of in vitro tests. The observed tissue response may be attributable to a combination of parent polymer compound, biodegradation products, and possibly implant geometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1690-1697
Number of pages8
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1996


  • angioplasty
  • arteries
  • coronary disease
  • stents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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