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Soft Template Electropolymerization Of Polypyrrole For Improved PH-Induced Drug Delivery

Iryna Liubchak, Matthew T. Lawrence, F. Benjamin Holness, Aaron D. Price

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Chronic wounds are characterized by a localized pH change from acidic (healthy) to alkaline (unhealthy), which can be harnessed to act as a switch for drug release from a polymer medium covering the wound for improved healing. To realize this, a new polymer dressing material is needed to help heal chronic wounds. Polypyrrole (PPy) is a biocompatible electroactive polymer that has been proven as a successful drug delivery mechanism, but currently lacks the capacity for scalable clinical applications due to its poor processability. In this study, PPy films with and without microstructures were produced using electrochemical oxidation and subsequently doped with fluorescein, a model drug molecule. To increase the drug loading capacity, microstructures were created through soft template polymerization of pyrrole around hydrogen gas bubbles. Fluorescein release was measured using UV spectroscopy over a pH range of 2 to 11, showing increased release at higher pH values. Microstructured films showed an increased doping capacity compared to flat PPy films, attributed to the increase in drug incorporation sites. The pH-activated release mechanism was shown to be successful and can be applied as a pH-sensitive biosensor and drug delivery system in vitro.