Yiwen Hu, Lin Yu, Shuquan Cui, Li Qin, Haiping Qi, Yongli Qi, Jiandong Ding, Deyuan Zhang, Jun Hu, Wenjiao Lin, Yao He, Gui Zhang, Qiong Liu, Hongtao Sun, Qingsong Liu, Liping Chen, Peize Li
The new principle and technique to tune biodegradation rates of biomaterials is one of the keys to the development of regenerative medicine and next-generation biomaterials. Biodegradable stents are new-generation medical devices applied in percutaneous coronary intervention, etc. Recently, both corrodible metals and degradable polymers have drawn much attention in biodegradable stents or scaffolds. It is, however, a dilemma to achieve good mechanical properties and appropriate degradation profiles. Herein, we put forward a metal–polymer composite strategy to achieve both. Iron stents exhibit excellent mechanical properties but low corrosion rate in vivo. We hypothesized that coating of biodegradable aliphatic polyester could accelerate iron corrosion due to the acidic degradation products, etc. To demonstrate the feasibility of this composite material technique, we first conducted in vitro experiments to affirm that iron sheet corroded faster when covered by polylactide (PLA) coating. Then, we fabricated three-dimensional metal–polymer stents (MPS) and implanted the novel stents in the abdominal aorta of New Zealand white rabbits, setting metal-based stents (MBS) as a control. A series of in vivo experiments were performed, including measurements of residual mass and radial strength of the stents, histological analysis, micro-computed tomography, and optical coherence tomography imaging at the implantation site. The results showed that MPS could totally corrode in some cases, whereas iron struts of MBS in all cases remained several months after implantation. Corrosion rates of MPS could be easily regulated by adjusting the composition of PLA coatings.