Site-specific delivery of dexamethasone from biodegradable implants reduces formation of pericardial adhesions in rabbits

Michael Chorny*, David Mishaly, Avshalom Leibowitz, Abraham J. Domb, Gershon Golomb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Repeated sternotomy often leads to serious complications in patients due to the formation of cardiac adhesions. In this study we characterized dexamethasone-loaded biodegradable poly(lactide)-poly(ethyleneglycol) copolymer films for site-specific drug delivery and examined their efficacy in the rabbit model of postoperative cardiac adhesions. Tritiated dexamethasone-loaded films were used to determine the in vitro release and in vivo drug distribution. Dexamethasone release in serum was biphasic with 69% drug released after 72 hr. The implants produced sustained drug levels at the implantation site with low distribution into the peripheral tissues. The matrices were implanted in rabbits between the epicardium and the sternum following sternotomy, pericardiectomy and epicardium abrasion, with the drug-releasing surface facing the epicardium. The tenacity and density of the adhesions was examined 21 days post procedure in comparison to both groups of untreated and rabbits implanted with blank matrices. Similarly tenacious and dense adhesions were observed in both control groups. In contrast, epicardial adhesions' formation was significantly reduced and the anatomy was preserved in the treated animals. It is concluded that local delivery of dexamethasone from biodegradable implants provides a promising approach for the prevention of pericardial adhesions while potentially minimizing the systemic adverse effects inherent to systemic therapy or high blood levels of the drug.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-282
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodegradable implant
  • Controlled drug release
  • Dexamethasone
  • Local delivery
  • Pericardial adhesion


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