Pharma Focus Asia

Relationships Between Mechanical Properties And Drug Release From Electrospun Fibers Of PCL And PLGA Blends

Authors: Shih-Feng Chou, Kim A. Woodrow


Electrospun nanofibers have the potential to achieve high drug loading and the ability to sustain drug release. Mechanical properties of the drug-incorporated fibers suggest the importance of drug–polymer interactions. In this study, we investigated the mechanical properties of electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) and poly (D,L-lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) fibers at various blend ratios in the presence and absence of a small molecule hydrophilic drug, tenofovir (TFV). Young?s modulus of the blend fibers showed dependence on PLGA content and the addition of the drug. At a PCL/PLGA (20/80) composition, Young?s modulus and tensile strength were independent of drug loading up to 40 wt% due to offsetting effects from drug–polymer interactions. In vitro drug release studies suggested that release of TFV significantly decreased fiber mechanical properties. In addition, mechanically stretched fibers displayed a faster release rate as compared to the non-stretched fibers. Finally, drug partition in the blend fibers was estimated using a mechanical model and then experimentally confirmed with a composite of individually stacked fiber meshes. This work provides scientific understanding on the dependence of drug release and drug loading on the mechanical properties of drug-eluting fibers.


Electrospun fibers; Mechanical properties; Drug loading; Drug release; Drug–polymer interaction; Drug partition

Citation: Shih-Feng Chou, Kim A. Woodrow Relationships Between Mechanical Properties And Drug Release From Electrospun Fibers Of PCL And PLGA Blends

Received: 8 July 2016, Revised: 1 September 2016, Accepted: 4 September 2016, Available online: 9 September 2016

Copyright: © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


In summary, we report correlations between mechanical properties and drug release rates of electrospun blend fibers. Our results showed that incorporating TFV into PCL/PLGA fibers significantly modified the mechanical properties from blank fibers, suggesting a high level of drug-polymer interactions. TFV release decreased mechanical properties significantly at early time points. Pre-stretched PCL/PLGA blend fibers to failure showed higher release rates as compared to the non-stretched samples. Drug partitioning in PCL/PLGA fibers was evaluated using a mechanical model, and experimental data using stack fiber configurations confirmed that 80% of the TFV is in the PCL phase and 20% of TFV is in the PLGA phase. Our study contributes to scientific understanding of mechanical performance of drug-eluting fibers.


This work is supported by a grant from the US National Institutes of Health (AI112002) and a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (1067729) awarded to K.A.W. We thank D. Carson for critical discussions and review of the manuscript.

magazine-slider-imageMFA + MMA 2024CPHI Chine || PMEC China 2024Asia Healthcare Week 2024Advance DoE WorkshopNitrosamine Advance Workshop 2024CPHI Korea 2024CHEMICAL INDONESIA 2024INALAB 2024 Thermo Scientific - DynaDrive and DynaSpinDigital Health Asia 2024Rehab Expo 2024ISPE Singapore Affiliate Conference & Exhibition 20242024 PDA Pharmaceutical Manufacturing & Quality Conference2024 PDA Cell and Gene Pharmaceutical Products Conference 2024 PDA Aseptic Manufacturing Excellence Conference2024 PDA Aseptic Processing of Biopharmaceuticals ConferencePharma Quality Excellence Awards 20244th Annual Pharma GMP Quality Management 20243rd World ADC Asia 2024LogiPharma Asia 2024