Investigating PLGA microparticle swelling behavior reveals an interplay of expansive intermolecular forces

Crystal E. Rapier, Kenneth J. Shea, Abraham P. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This study analyzes the swelling behavior of native, unmodified, spherically uniform, monodisperse poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microparticles in a robust high-throughput manner. This work contributes to the complex narrative of PLGA microparticle behavior and release mechanisms by complementing and extending previously reported studies on intraparticle microenvironment, degradation, and drug release. Microfluidically produced microparticles are incubated under physiological conditions and observed for 50 days to generate a profile of swelling behavior. Microparticles substantially increase in size after 15 days, continue increasing for 30 days achieving size dependent swelling indices between 49 and 83%. Swelling capacity is found to correlate with pH. Our study addresses questions such as onset, duration, swelling index, size dependency, reproducibility, and causal mechanistic forces surrounding swelling. Importantly, this study can serve as the basis for predictive modeling of microparticle behavior and swelling capacity, in addition to providing clues as to the microenvironmental conditions that encapsulated material may experience.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14512
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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