Fused deposition modeling as an additive manufacturing technique has gained great popularity for the fabrication of medical devices as well as pharmaceutical dosage forms over the last years. Particularly the variety of geometries that can be printed determines the attractiveness of this technique enabling a shape adaption of e.g. implants. In the presented work the soft hydrogel material glycerol gelatin was investigated towards its applicability in 3D-printing as an alternative to the commonly applied and mostly rigid polyesters. Model implants loaded with the model drug quinine and with the shape of a hollow cylinder were printed via an extrusion based technique utilizing the piston feed in a hydrogel filled heatable syringe. Glycerol gelatin hydrogels need to be crosslinked to avoid gel-sol-transition at body temperature. For this purpose three different crosslinking methods (insertion, dipping, spraying) with 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide (EDC) and N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) were evaluated regarding their crosslinking efficiency and drug losses during the crosslinking process. Dipping of the implant into an aqueous solution with at least 50 mM EDC and 10 mM NHS was found to be the most efficient crosslinking technique in conjunction with a smaller drug loss during processing compared to inserting. However, the use of hydrogels also causes problems as an intense and highly variable swelling of the printed structures during crosslinking (120.7 % ± 11.9 % for 10 times dipping in 50mM EDC/10 mM NHS) and a great dependency of the volume on storage conditions complicate the preparation of tailor-made implants. The release of the model drug quinine from printed and crosslinked implants was fast and nearly completed within 6 hours.
©2017 Wiebke Kempin et al., published by De Gruyter
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