Bone Joint Res 2019;8:81–89.

Radical scavenging of poly(methyl methacrylate) bone cement by rifampin and clinically relevant properties of the rifampin-loaded cement

G. A. Funk, E. M. Menuey, K. A. Cole, T. P. Schuman, K. V. Kilway, T. E. McIff
Ankle Elbow Hip Knee Shoulder Wrist

Objectives

The objective of this study was to characterize the effect of rifampin incorporation into poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) bone cement. While incompatibilities between the two materials have been previously noted, we sought to identify and quantify the cause of rifampin’s effects, including alterations in curing properties, mechanical strength, and residual monomer content.

Methods

Four cement groups were prepared using commercial PMMA bone cement: a control; one with 1 g of rifampin; and one each with equimolar amounts of ascorbic acid or hydroquinone relative to the amount of rifampin added. The handling properties, setting time, exothermic output, and monomer loss were measured throughout curing. The mechanical strength of each group was tested over 14 days. A radical scavenging assay was used to assess the scavenging abilities of rifampin and its individual moieties.

Results

Compared with control, the rifampin-incorporated cement had a prolonged setting time and a reduction in exothermic output during polymerization. The rifampin cement showed significantly reduced strength and was below the orthopaedic weight-bearing threshold of 70 MPa. Based on the radical scavenging assay and strength tests, the hydroquinone structure within rifampin was identified as the polymerization inhibitor.

Conclusion

The incorporation of rifampin into PMMA bone cement interferes with the cement’s radical polymerization. This interference is due to the hydroquinone moiety within rifampin. This combination alters the cement’s handling and curing properties, and lowers the strength below the threshold for weight-bearing applications. Additionally, the incomplete polymerization leads to increased toxic monomer output, which discourages its use even in non-weight-bearing applications.


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