Degradation kinetics of poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid block copolymer cast films in phosphate buffer solution as revealed by infrared and Raman spectroscopies
Poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) is an important copolymer used in drug delivery platforms where controlled release is required. In this work we investigated the in vitro degradation of four PLGA copolymers with L/G molar compositions of 50/50, 65/35, 75/25 and 95/5. ATR-IR and Raman spectroscopies were used to differentiate and quantify the degradation rates of glycolic and lactic units. Both techniques were used to determine the polymer composition as a function of degradation time and the degradation rate constants for the hydrolysis of glycolic and lactic units were calculated using a 1st order kinetics approach. Our results revealed a two stage process for the degradation of PLGA cast films in PBS in agreement with our previous work. The degradation rate constant for glycolic unit was found to be 1.3 times higher than for lactic units. In addition the degradation rate constants for L and G units were shown to decrease proportionally with increasing initial lactic content of the copolymer used to prepare the films.