Synthesis and characterization of the biodegradable and elastic terpolymer poly(glycolide-co-L-lactide-co-ε-caprolactone) for mechano-active tissue engineering

Youngmee Jung, Sun Hee Lee, Sang Heon Kim, Jong Choo Lim, Soo Hyun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


We synthesized a series of tri-component biodegradable copolymers with elastic characteristics by ring-opening copolymerization of cyclic lactones, that is, glycolide, L-lactide, and e-caprolactone, in the presence of stannous octoate as a catalyst. We evaluated the physical and chemical characteristics of poly(glycolide-co-L-lactide-co-ε-caprolactone) (PGLCL) copolymers. The synthesized PGLCL had a high molecular weight of about 100kD and an amorphous structure. It was confirmed that the physical and chemical properties of these terpolymers could be modulated by adjusting copolymer composition. PGLCL films exhibited rubber-like elasticity and showed almost complete recovery when subjected to 50% of the tensile strain. To examine the biodegradability of the PGLCL copolymers, we performed in vitro degradation tests for 12 weeks and observed changes in molecular weight, gross weight, and composition. These results showed that the glycolide was degraded most quickly and that E-caprolactone was the slowest to degrade. Additionally, cytotoxicity tests revealed that none of the polymers were toxic. In summary, the mechanical properties and biodegradability of PGLCL terpolymers could be controlled by changing the monomer content, which may be useful for a wide range of tissue engineering applications based on mechanical property requirements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-397
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biomaterials Science, Polymer Edition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Mar 1



  • Biocompatibility
  • Elasticity
  • Poly(glycolide-co-L-lactide-co-ε-caprolactone) (PGLCL)
  • Terpolymer
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering

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