Dentin adhesives may undergo phase separation when bonding to wet demineralized dentin. We hypothesized that adhesives exhibiting phase separation will experience enhanced biodegradation of methacrylate ester groups. The objective of this project was to study the effect of enzyme-exposure on the release of methacrylic acid (MAA) and 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) from adhesives formulated under conditions simulating wet bonding. HEMA/bisGMA(2,2-bis[4(2-hydroxy-3-methacryloyloxy-propyloxy)-phenyl] propane), 45/55 w/w ratio, was formulated with different water content: 0 Wt % (A00), 8 wt % (A08), and 16 wt % (A16). After a three day prewash, adhesive discs were incubated with/without porcine liver esterase (PLE) in phosphate buffer (PB, pH 7.4) at 37 degrees C for 8 days. Supernatants were collected daily and analyzed for MAA and HEMA by HPLC. For all formulations, daily MAA release in the presence of PLE was increased compared to MAA release in PB. HEMA release in the presence of PLE was not detected while HEMA release was consistently measured in PB. A08 and A16 released significantly larger amounts of HEMA compared to A00. Analysis of the cumulative release of analytes showed that the leachables in PLE was significantly increased (p < 0.05) as compared with that released in PB indicating that MAA release was not only formed from unreacted monomers but from pendant groups in the polymer network. However, the levels of analytes HEMA in PB or MAA in PLE were increased in A08 and A16 as compared with A00, which suggests that there could be a greater loss of material in HEMA/bisGMA adhesives that experience phase separation under wet bonding conditions.
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