The controlled release of macromolecules from macroporous hydrophyllic polymer matrices

  • Roisin L. McCallion

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This work has used novel polymer design and fabrication technology to generate bead form polymer based systems, with variable, yet controlled release properties, specifically for the delivery of macromolecules, essentially peptides of therapeutic interest. The work involved investigation of the potential interaction between matrix ultrastructural morphology, in vitro release kinetics, bioactivity and immunoreactivity of selected macromolecules with limited hydrolytic stability, delivered from controlled release vehicles.
The underlying principle involved photo-polymerisation of the monomer, hydroxyethyl methacrylate, around frozen ice crystals, leading to the production of a macroporous hydrophilic matrix. Bead form matrices were fabricated in controllable size ranges in the region of 100µm - 3mm in diameter. The initial stages of the project involved the study of how variables, delivery speed of the monomer and stirring speed of the non solvent, affectedthe formation of macroporous bead form matrices. From this an optimal bench system for bead production was developed. Careful selection of monomer, solvents, crosslinking agent and polymerisation conditions led to a variable but controllable
distribution of pore sizes (0.5 - 4µm).
Release of surrogate macromolecules, bovine serum albumin and FITC-linked dextrans, enabled factors relating to the size and solubility of the macromolecule on the rate of release to be studied. Incorporation of bioactive macromolecules allowed retained bioactivity to be determined (glucose oxidase and
interleukin-2), whilst the release of insulin enabled determination of both bioactivity (using rat epididymal fat pad) and immunoreactivity (RIA).
The work carried out has led to the generation of macroporous bead form matrices, fabricated from a tissue biocompatible hydrogel, capable of the sustained, controlled release of biologically active peptides, with potential use in the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries.
Date of AwardMay 1990
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorTerence W. Atkins (Supervisor)


  • controlled release
  • bioactive macromolecules
  • macroporous hydrophyllic polymer matrices

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