Macrophage-mediated biodegradation of poly(DL-lactide-co-glycolide) in vitro

Zhidao Xia, Yizhong Huang, Iannis Adamopoulos, Andrew Walpole, James T. Triffitt, Zhanfeng Cui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Biodegradation of poly-DL-lactide-co-glycolide (PLGA) both in vitro and in vivo has been well documented. However, the roles that macrophages and their fused multinucleated giant cells (MNGCs) play in this biodegradation are still unclear. The current study aimed to investigate macrophage-mediated biodegradation of PLGA thin films and of PLGA composites with hydroxyapatite (HA) and tricalcium phosphate (TCP) ceramic powders in vitro using a murine macrophage cell line (RAW 264.7). The interactions were analyzed by using cell viability assays, scanning electron microscopy, and focused ion beam microscopy. The results showed that RAW 264.7 cells effectively attached and proliferated on the PLGA films and PLGA-HA, PLGA-TCP composites. The RAW 264.7 cells were observed to aggregate and fuse to form MNGCs. The cell processes on the membrane, or pseudopodia, penetrated into the PLGA films and evidently eroded the surface. We conclude that macrophages and fused MNGCs actively respond to PLGA films as substratum and degrade the surface of this polymer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)582-590
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodegradation
  • Focused ion beam (FIB) microscopy
  • Macrophage
  • Multinucleated giant cells (MNGCs)
  • Poly-DL-lactide-co-glycolide (PLGA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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