Research Paper

Nasolacrimal stent with shape memory as an advanced alternative to silicone products

Published at
Acta Biomaterilia (2019.11.07, IF 6.638)
Epiphora is the overflow of tears typically caused by obstruction or occlusion of the nasolacrimal duct. More attention is required to address this global health issue owing to the increase in air pollution. Implantation of a silicone stent is the preferred treatment for epiphora; however, introducing a silicone stent into a narrow duct with complex geometry is challenging as it requires guidance by a sharp metal needle. Additionally, silicone can cause adverse reactions such as biofilm formation and tear flow resistance due to its extreme hydrophobicity. To overcome these problems, in this study we developed a new type of biocompatible shape memory polymer (SMP) stent with elasticity capacity for self-expansion. First, SMPs in the form of x%poly(ε-caprolactone)-co–y%poly(glycidyl methacrylate) (x%PCL–y%PGMA) were synthesized via ring opening polymerization by varying the molar ratio of PCL (x%) and PGMA (y%). Second, the shape memory and mechanical properties were tuned by controlling the crosslinking degree and concentration of x%PCL–y%PGMA solution to produce a test type of SMP stent. Lastly, this 94%PCL–06%PGMA stent exhibited more standout critical functions in a series of in vitro and in vivo experiments such as a cell growth-supporting level of biocompatibility with nasal epithelial cells without significant inflammatory responses, better resistance to biofilm formation, and more efficient capacity to drain tear than the silicone control. Overall, 94%PCL–06%PGMA can be suggested as a superior alternative to the currently used materials for nasolacrimal stents.
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