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Implant polymeric materials which may be absorbed or degraded by the host must be examined for the local histologic responses which they elicit, as well as for their systemic toxic effects, antigenicity, and carcinogenicity. A review of experiments describing these effects is provided. Few assay systems whereby highly reactive polymers can be compared for histotoxicity have been developed.
Evaluation of local responses to reactive polymers will be discussed in terms of current biological evaluations of various alkyl-2 cyanoacrylate tissue adhesives. The responses to these materials implanted in various sites within rats will be compared. A quantitative assay system, whereby inhibition of collagen formation is measured by inhibition of hydroxyproline uptake in subcutaneously implanted poly(vinyl alcohol) sponges containing the cyanoacrylates, will be described. This local response can be correlated with the microscopic appearances of the plastic-containing sponges. The significance of this assay system will be discussed.
It can be concluded that such assay systems as that presented are necessary for critical comparisons of the local responses to various highly reactive polymers. The need for comprehensive and quantitative testing of polymer implants is stressed.
Woodward, S. C.
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.