The chemical distribution and mechanical effects of drug compounds in loaded electrospun scaffolds, a potential material for hernia repair mesh, were characterised and the efficacy of the material was evaluated. Polycaprolactone electrospun fibres were loaded with either the antibacterial agent, irgasan, or the broad-spectrum antibiotic, levofloxacin. The samples were subsequently characterised by rheological studies, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), contact angle goniometry (CAG), in vitro drug release studies, antibacterial studies and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). Increased linear viscoelastic regions observed in the rheometry studies suggest that both irgasan and levofloxacin alter the internal structure of the native polymeric matrix. In vitro drug release studies from the loaded polymeric matrix showed significant differences in release rates for the two drug compounds under investigation. Irgasan showed sustained release, most likely driven by molecular diffusion through the scaffold. Conversely, levofloxacin exhibited a burst release profile indicative of phase separation at the edge of the fibres. Two scaffold types successfully inhibited bacterial growth when tested with strains of E. coli and S. aureus. Electrospinning drug-loaded polyester fibres is an alternative, feasible and effective method for fabricating non-woven fibrous meshes for controlled release in hernia repair.
- drug release
- physicochemical characterisation
- secondary ion mass spectrometry
- mass spectrometry imaging
- chemical imaging