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1.  Potential of Hydrogels Based on Poly(Ethylene Glycol) and Sebacic Acid as Orthopedic Tissue Engineering Scaffolds 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2009;15(8):2299-2307.
In this study, the bioactive effects of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) sebacic acid diacrylate (PEGSDA) hydrogels with or without RGD peptide modification on osteogenic differentiation and mineralization of marrow stromal cells (MSCs) were examined. In a separate experiment, the ability of PEGSDA hydrogel to serve as a delivery vehicle for bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) was also investigated. As a scaffold, the attachment and proliferation of MSCs on PEGSDA hydrogel scaffolds with and without RGD peptide modification was similar to the control, tissue culture polystyrene. In contrast, cells were barely seen on unmodified PEG diacrylate (PEGDA) hydrogel throughout the culture period for up to 21 days. Osteogenic phenotypic expression such as alkaline phosphatase (ALP) of MSCs as well as mineralized calcium content were significantly higher on PEGSDA-based hydrogels than those on the control or PEGDA hydrogels. Potential use of PEGSDA scaffold as a delivery vehicle of osteogenic molecules such as BMP-2 was also evaluated. Initial burst release of BMP-2 from PEGSDA hydrogel scaffold (14.7%) was significantly reduced compared to PEGDA hydrogel scaffold (84.2%) during the first 3 days of a 21-day release period. ALP activity of an osteoblast was significantly higher in the presence of BMP-2 released from PEGSDA hydrogel scaffolds compared to that in the presence of BMP-2 released from PEGDA scaffolds, especially after 6 days of release. Overall, PEGSDA hydrogel scaffolds without further modification may be useful as orthopedic tissue engineering scaffolds as well as local drug carriers for prolonged sustained release of osteoinductive molecules.
PMCID: PMC2792107  PMID: 19292677
2.  In Vivo Biocompatibility of PLGA-Polyhexylthiophene Nanofiber Scaffolds in a Rat Model 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:390518.
Electroactive polymers have applications in tissue engineering as a physical template for cell adhesion and carry electrical signals to improve tissue regeneration. Present study demonstrated the biocompatibility and biodegradability of poly(lactide-co-glycolide)-poly(3-hexylthiophene) (PLGA-PHT) blend electrospun scaffolds in a subcutaneous rat model. The biocompatibility of PLGA-undoped PHT, PLGA-doped PHT, and aligned PLGA-doped PHT nanofibers was evaluated and compared with random PLGA fibers. The animals were sacrificed at 2, 4, and 8 weeks; the surrounding tissue along with the implant was removed to evaluate biocompatibility and biodegradability by histologic analysis and GPC, respectively. Histology results demonstrated that all scaffolds except PLGA-undoped PHT showed decrease in inflammation over time. It was observed that the aligned PLGA-doped PHT fibers elicited moderate response at 2 weeks, which further reduced to a mild response over time with well-organized tissue structure and collagen deposition. The degradation of aligned nanofibers was found to be very slow when compared to random fibers. Further, there was no reduction in the molecular weight of undoped form of PHT throughout the study. These experiments revealed the biocompatibility and biodegradability of PLGA-PHT nanofibers that potentiate it to be used as a biomaterial for various applications.
PMCID: PMC3736537  PMID: 23971031
3.  Tunable Hydrogel-Microsphere Composites that Modulate Local Inflammation and Collagen Bulking 
Acta biomaterialia  2012;8(9):3218-3227.
Injectable biomaterials alone may alter local tissue responses, including inflammatory cascades and matrix production (e.g., stimulatory dermal fillers are used as volumizing agents that induce collagen production). To expand upon the available material compositions and timing of presentation, a tunable hyaluronic acid (HA) and poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) microsphere composite system was formulated and assessed in subcutaneous and cardiac tissues. HA functionalized with hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HeMA) was used as a precursor to injectable and degradable hydrogels that carry PLGA microspheres (~50 m diameter) to tissues, where the HA hydrogel degradation (~20 or 70 days) and quantity of PLGA microspheres (0–300 mg/ml) are readily varied. When implanted subcutaneously, faster hydrogel degradation and more microspheres (e.g., 75mg/mL) generally induced more rapid tissue and cellular interactions and a greater macrophage response. In cardiac applications, tissue bulking may be useful to alter stress profiles and to stabilize the tissue after infarction, limiting left ventricular (LV) remodeling. When fast degrading HeMA-HA hydrogels containing 75 mg/mL microspheres were injected into infarcted tissue in sheep, LV dilation was limited and the thickness of the myocardial wall and the presence of vessels in the apical infarct region were increased ~35% and ~60%, respectively, compared to empty hydrogels. Both groups decreased volume changes and infarct areas at 8 weeks, compared to untreated controls. This work illustrates the importance of material design in expanding the application of tissue bulking composites to a range of biomedical applications.
PMCID: PMC3408556  PMID: 22659176
hyaluronic acid; hydrogel; microspheres; remodeling; myocardial infarction
4.  Temporal progression of the host response to implanted poly(ethylene glycol)-based hydrogels 
Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogels hold great promise as in vivo cell carriers for tissue engineering. To ensure appropriate performance of these materials when implanted, the host response must be well understood. The objectives for this study were to characterize the temporal evolution of the foreign body reaction (FBR) to acellular PEG-based hydrogels prepared from PEG diacrylate precursors when implanted subcutaneously in immunocompentent c57bl/6 mice by (immuno)histochemical analysis and gene expression. Compared to a normal FBR elicited by silicone (SIL), PEG hydrogels without or with a cell adhesion ligand RGD elicited a strong early inflammatory response evidenced by a thick band of macrophages as early as day 2, persisting through 2 weeks, and by increased interleukin-1β expression. PEG-only hydrogels showed a slower, but more sustained progression of inflammation over PEG-RGD. Temporal changes in gene expression were observed in response to PEG-based materials and in general exhibited, elevated expression of inflammatory and wound healing genes in the tissues surrounding the implants, while the expression patterns were more stable in response to SIL. While a stabilized FBR was achieved with SIL and to a lesser degree with PEG-RGD, the PEG-only hydrogels had not yet stabilized after 4 weeks. In summary, PEG-only hydrogels elicit a strong early inflammatory reaction, which persists throughout the course of the implantation even as a collagenous capsule begins to form. However, the incorporation of RGD tethers partially attenuates this response within 2 weeks leading to an improved FBR to PEG-based hydrogels.
PMCID: PMC3091279  PMID: 21268236
5.  Assessment of PLGA-PEG-PLGA Copolymer Hydrogel for Sustained Drug Delivery in the Ear 
Current drug delivery  2014;11(2):279-286.
Temperature sensitive copolymer systems were previously studied using modified diffusion cells in vitro for intratympanic injection, and the PLGA-PEG-PLGA copolymer systems were found to provide sustained drug delivery for several days. The objectives of the present study were to assess the safety of PLGA-PEG-PLGA copolymers in intratympanic injection in guinea pigs in vivo and to determine the effects of additives glycerol and poloxamer in PLGA-PEG-PLGA upon drug release in the diffusion cells in vitro for sustained inner ear drug delivery. In the experiments, the safety of PLGA-PEG-PLGA copolymers to inner ear was evaluated using auditory brainstem response (ABR). The effects of the additives upon drug release from PLGA-PEG-PLGA hydrogel were investigated in the modified Franz diffusion cells in vitro with cidofovir as the model drug. The phase transition temperatures of the PLGA-PEG-PLGA copolymers in the presence of the additives were also determined. In the ABR safety study, the PLGA-PEG-PLGA copolymer alone did not affect hearing when delivered at 0.05-mL dose but caused hearing loss after 0.1-mL injection. In the drug release study, the incorporation of the bioadhesive additive, poloxamer, in the PLGA-PEG-PLGA formulations was found to decrease the rate of drug release whereas the increase in the concentration of the humectant additive, glycerol, provided the opposite effect. In summary, the PLGA-PEG-PLGA copolymer did not show toxicity to the inner ear at the 0.05-mL dose and could provide sustained release that could be controlled by using the additives for inner ear applications.
PMCID: PMC4263276  PMID: 24438444
Sustained release; drug delivery; auditory brainstem response; hydrogel; ear; cidofovir
6.  A Microparticle/Hydrogel Combination Drug-Delivery System for Sustained Release of Retinoids 
To design and develop a drug-delivery system containing a combination of poly(d,l-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) microparticles and alginate hydrogel for sustained release of retinoids to treat retinal blinding diseases that result from an inadequate supply of retinol and generation of 11-cis-retinal.
To study drug release in vivo, either the drug-loaded microparticle–hydrogel combination was injected subcutaneously or drug-loaded microparticles were injected intravitreally into Lrat−/− mice. Orally administered 9-cis-retinoids were used for comparison and drug concentrations in plasma were determined by HPLC. Electroretinography (ERG) and both chemical and histologic analyses were used to evaluate drug effects on visual function and morphology.
Lrat−/− mice demonstrated sustained drug release from the microparticle/hydrogel combination that lasted 4 weeks after subcutaneous injection. Drug concentrations in plasma of the control group treated with the same oral dose rose to higher levels for 6−7 hours but then dropped markedly by 24 hours. Significantly increased ERG responses and a markedly improved retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE)–rod outer segment (ROS) interface were observed after subcutaneous injection of the drug-loaded delivery combination. Intravitreal injection of just 2% of the systemic dose of drug-loaded microparticles provided comparable therapeutic efficacy.
Sustained release of therapeutic levels of 9-cis-retinoids was achieved in Lrat−/− mice by subcutaneous injection in a microparticle/hydrogel drug-delivery system. Both subcutaneous and intravitreal injections of drug-loaded microparticles into Lrat−/− mice improved visual function and retinal structure.
A novel drug-delivery system was developed for sustained release of therapeutic levels of 9-cis-retinoids. A PLGA microsphere alginate hydrogel combination was used both in vitro and in vivo to evaluate its therapeutic efficacy in retinas of Lrat−/− mice.
PMCID: PMC3465014  PMID: 22918645
7.  Biocompatibility and Bone Formation of Flexible, Cotton Wool-like PLGA/Calcium Phosphate Nanocomposites in Sheep 
The purpose of this preliminary study was to assess the in vivo performance of synthetic, cotton wool-like nanocomposites consisting of a biodegradable poly(lactide-co-glycolide) fibrous matrix and containing either calcium phosphate nanoparticles (PLGA/CaP 60:40) or silver doped CaP nanoparticles (PLGA/Ag-CaP 60:40). Besides its extraordinary in vitro bioactivity the latter biomaterial (0.4 wt% total silver concentration) provides additional antimicrobial properties for treating bone defects exposed to microorganisms.
Materials and Methods:
Both flexible artificial bone substitutes were implanted into totally 16 epiphyseal and metaphyseal drill hole defects of long bone in sheep and followed for 8 weeks. Histological and histomorphological analyses were conducted to evaluate the biocompatibility and bone formation applying a score system. The influence of silver on the in vivo performance was further investigated.
Semi-quantitative evaluation of histology sections showed for both implant materials an excellent biocompatibility and bone healing with no resorption in the adjacent bone. No signs of inflammation were detectable, either macroscopically or microscopically, as was evident in 5 µm plastic sections by the minimal amount of inflammatory cells. The fibrous biomaterials enabled bone formation directly in the centre of the former defect. The area fraction of new bone formation as determined histomorphometrically after 8 weeks implantation was very similar with 20.5 ± 11.2 % and 22.5 ± 9.2 % for PLGA/CaP and PLGA/Ag-CaP, respectively.
The cotton wool-like bone substitute material is easily applicable, biocompatible and might be beneficial in minimal invasive surgery for treating bone defects.
PMCID: PMC3092473  PMID: 21566736
In vivo; bone regeneration; flexible; scaffold; silver.
8.  Biological augmentation of rotator cuff repair using bFGF-loaded electrospun poly(lactide-co-glycolide) fibrous membranes 
Clinically, rotator cuff tear (RCT) is among the most common shoulder pathologies. Despite significant advances in surgical techniques, the re-tear rate after rotator cuff (RC) repair remains high. Insufficient healing capacity is likely the main factor for reconstruction failure. This study reports on a basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF)-loaded electrospun poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) fibrous membrane for repairing RCT. Implantable biodegradable bFGF–PLGA fibrous membranes were successfully fabricated using emulsion electrospinning technology and then characterized and evaluated with in vitro and in vivo cell proliferation assays and repairs of rat chronic RCTs. Emulsion electrospinning fabricated ultrafine fibers with a core-sheath structure which secured the bioactivity of bFGF in a sustained manner for 3 weeks. Histological observations showed that electrospun fibrous membranes have excellent biocompatibility and biodegradability. At 2, 4, and 8 weeks after in vivo RCT repair surgery, electrospun fibrous membranes significantly increased the area of glycosaminoglycan staining at the tendon–bone interface compared with the control group, and bFGF–PLGA significantly improved collagen organization, as measured by birefringence under polarized light at the healing enthesis compared with the control and PLGA groups. Biomechanical testing showed that the electrospun fibrous membrane groups had a greater ultimate load-to-failure and stiffness than the control group at 4 and 8 weeks. The bFGF–PLGA membranes had the highest ultimate load-to-failure, stiffness, and stress of the healing enthesis, and their superiority compared to PLGA alone was significant. These results demonstrated that electrospun fibrous membranes aid in cell attachment and proliferation, as well as accelerating tendon–bone remodeling, and bFGF-loaded PLGA fibrous membranes have a more pronounced effect on tendon–bone healing. Therefore, augmentation using bFGF–PLGA electrospun fibrous membranes is a promising treatment for RCT.
PMCID: PMC4027937  PMID: 24868155
rotator cuff tear; bFGF; electrospinning; PLGA; rat model
9.  Biodegradable PLGA-Based Drug Delivery Systems for Modulating Ocular Surface Disease under Experimental Murine Dry Eye 
Continuous drug delivery to the ocular surface remains difficult due to the rapid tear clearance of topically applied agents. The purpose of this study was to evaluate biodegradable and biocompatible drug delivery systems on the ocular surface using poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) based polymers.
Fluorescein-labeled albumin and doxycycline were individually encapsulated into a PLGA-based matrix using a water-oil-water double emulsion method. The drug elution rates for various microspheres were evaluated spectrofluorometrically. Particle size was measured using image analysis software. Subconjunctival injections of PLGA microspheres were used to evaluate safety and inflammatory response to the polymer in the murine model. Efficacy of the drug delivery system was evaluated by a single subconjunctival injection of PLGA-doxycycline (a broad metalloproteinase inhibitor) prior to induction of desiccating stress (DS) model in C57BL/6 mice for 5 days.
PLGA-based microspheres successfully elute encapsulated drugs of interest continuously over controlled periods of time. Mean PLGA-based microparticle diameter was 4.6 μm±1.54 μm. Drug elution rates and delivery times were easily modifiable by altering polymers and synthesis parameters. In vitro studies demonstrate successful continuous elution of encapsulated drugs for at least 2 weeks. In vivo testing of PLGA-doxycycline was efficacious in preventing DS-induced corneal barrier disruption with desiccating stress, similarly to topically applied doxycycline.
PLGA-based drug delivery systems are safe and non-inflammatory. They can be successfully used to treat ocular surface and corneal diseases by continuously delivering biopharmaceuticals of interest.
PMCID: PMC3614373  PMID: 23560247
PLGA; Doxycycline; Desiccating stress
10.  Suitable carriers for encapsulation and distribution of endostar: comparison of endostar-loaded particulate carriers 
Particulate carriers are necessary to control the release of endostar and prolong its circulation in vivo. The purpose of this study was to identify a suitable carrier for the capsulation and delivery of endostar.
We prepared a series of poly (DL-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) and poly (ethylene glycol) (PEG)-modified PLGA (PEG-PLGA) particulate carriers, and then characterized them according to their ability to prolong the circulation of endostar, their physicochemical properties, endostar-loading content, and in vitro and in vivo particulate carrier release profiles.
All the particulate carriers had spherical core shell structures. The PEG-PLGA material and nanosize range appeared to enable the carriers to encapsulate more endostar, release endostar faster in vitro, and accumulate more endostar in vivo. The drug loading capacity of PEG-PLGA and PLGA nanoparticles was 8.03% ± 3.41% and 3.27% ± 5.26%, respectively, and for PEG-PLGA and PLGA microspheres was 15.32% ± 5.61% and 9.21% ± 4.73%. The cumulative amount of endostar released from the carriers in phosphate-buffered saline over 21 days was 23.79%, 20.45%, 15.13%, and 10.41%, respectively. Moreover, the terminal elimination half-life of endostar in the rabbit was 26.91 ± 7.93 hours and 9.32 ± 5.53 hours in the PEG-PLGA group and the PLGA nanoparticle group. Peak endostar concentration was reached at day 7 in the group treated with subcutaneous injection of PEG-PLGA microspheres and at day 14 in the group receiving subcutaneous injection of PLGA microspheres. Endostar was detectable in vivo in both groups after injection of the particulate carriers.
PEG-PLGA nanoparticles might be better than other nanoparticulate carriers for encapsulation and distribution of endostar.
PMCID: PMC3152471  PMID: 21845043
poly(DL-lactide-co-glycolide); nanoparticle; microsphere; endostar; peptide delivery
11.  Effect of Dexamethasone-Loaded Poly(Lactic-Co-Glycolic Acid) Microsphere/Poly(Vinyl Alcohol) Hydrogel Composite Coatings on the Basic Characteristics of Implantable Glucose Sensors 
Hydrogels alone and in combination with microsphere drug delivery systems are being considered as biocompatible coatings for implantable glucose biosensors to prevent/minimize the foreign body response. Previously, our group has demonstrated that continuous release of dexamethasone from poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microsphere/poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) hydrogel composites can successfully prevent foreign body response at the implantation site. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of this composite coating on sensor functionality.
The PLGA microsphere/PVA hydrogel coatings were prepared and applied to glucose biosensors. The swelling properties of the composite coatings and their diffusivity to glucose were evaluated as a function of microsphere loading. Sensor linearity, response time, and sensitivity were also evaluated as a function of coating composition.
The PLGA microsphere/PVA hydrogel composite coating did not compromise sensor linearity (sensors were linear up to 30 mM), which is well beyond the physiological glucose range (2 to 22 mM). The sensor response time did increase in the presence of the coating (from 10 to 19 s); however, this response time was still less than the average reported values. Although the sensitivity of the sensors decreased from 73 to 62 nA/mM glucose when the PLGA microsphere loading in the PVA hydrogel changed from 0 to 100 mg/ml, this reduced sensitivity is acceptable for sensor functionality. The changes in sensor response time and sensitivity were due to changes in glucose permeability as a result of the coatings. The embedded PLGA microspheres reduced the fraction of bulk water present in the hydrogel matrix and consequently reduced glucose diffusion.
This study demonstrates that the PLGA microsphere/PVA hydrogel composite coatings allow sufficient glucose diffusion and sensor functionality and therefore may be utilized as a smart coating for implantable glucose biosensors to enhance their in vivo functionality.
PMCID: PMC3570887  PMID: 23294792
glucose biosensor; hydrogel; linearity; microsphere; response time; sensitivity
12.  A biodegradable perivascular wrap for controlled, local and directed drug delivery 
Journal of Controlled Release  2012;161(1):81-89.
Perivascular delivery of anti-proliferative agents is an attractive approach to inhibit hyperplasia that causes stenosis of synthetic hemodialysis grafts and other vascular grafts. Perivascular drug delivery systems typically release drugs to both the vascular wall and non-target extravascular tissue. The objective of this study was to develop a biodegradable, perivascular delivery system for localized, sustained and unidirectional drug release in the context of synthetic arteriovenous (AV) grafts used for chronic hemodialysis. To this end, a dense non-porous polymer barrier layer was laminated to either i) a drug-loaded non-porous polymer layer, or ii) a porous polymer layer. To provide tuneability, the porous layer could be loaded with drug during casting or later infused with a drug-loaded hydrogel. The polymer bilayer wraps were prepared by a solvent casting, thermal-phase inversion technique using either polylactide-co-glycolide (PLGA) or polycaprolactone (PCL). Sunitinib, a multi-target receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, was used as a model drug. In a modified transwell chamber system, the barrier function of the non-porous PLGA backing was superior to the non-porous PCL backing although both markedly inhibited drug diffusion. As assessed by in vitro release assays, drug release duration from the drug-loaded non-porous PCL construct was almost 4-fold greater than release from the porous PCL construct infused with drug-laden hydrogel (22 days vs. 5 days); release duration from the drug-loaded non-porous PLGA construct was prolonged approximately 3-fold over release from the porous PLGA construct infused with drug-laden hydrogel (9 days vs. 3 days). Complete in vitro degradation of the PLGA porous and non-porous constructs occurred by approximately 35 days whereas the PCL constructs remained intact even after most drug was released (49 days). The PLGA non-porous bilayer wrap containing 143±5.5 mg sunitinib in the inner layer was chosen for further pharmacokinetic assessment in vivo where the construct was placed around the external jugular vein in a porcine model. At one week, no drug was detected by HPLC/MS/MS in any examined extravascular tissue whereas high levels of drug were detected in the wrapped vein segment (1048 ng/g tissue). At four weeks, drug was detected in adjacent muscle (52 ng/g tissue) but 13-fold greater amounts were detected in the wrapped vein segment (1742 ng/g tissue). These results indicate that the barrier layer effectively impedes extravascular drug loss. Tensile testing showed that the initially flexible PLGA construct stiffened with hydration, a phenomenon also observed after in vivo placement. This characteristic may be useful to resist undue circumferential venous tensile stress produced in AV grafting. The PLGA wrap bilayer formulation is a promising perivascular drug delivery design for local treatment of hemodialysis AV graft hyperplasia and possibly other hyperplastic vascular disorders.
PMCID: PMC3378780  PMID: 22561340
hyperplasia; drug delivery; perivascular wrap; inflammation; sunitinib; arteriovenous graft
13.  Preparation and in vitro evaluation of doxorubicin-loaded Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles modified with biocompatible copolymers 
Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles are attractive materials that have been widely used in medicine for drug delivery, diagnostic imaging, and therapeutic applications. In our study, superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles and the anticancer drug, doxorubicin hydrochloride, were encapsulated into poly (D, L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) poly (ethylene glycol) (PLGA-PEG) nanoparticles for local treatment. The magnetic properties conferred by superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles could help to maintain the nanoparticles in the joint with an external magnet.
A series of PLGA:PEG triblock copolymers were synthesized by ring-opening polymerization of D, L-lactide and glycolide with different molecular weights of polyethylene glycol (PEG2000, PEG3000, and PEG4000) as an initiator. The bulk properties of these copolymers were characterized using 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, gel permeation chromatography, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and differential scanning calorimetry. In addition, the resulting particles were characterized by x-ray powder diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and vibrating sample magnetometry.
The doxorubicin encapsulation amount was reduced for PLGA:PEG2000 and PLGA:PEG3000 triblock copolymers, but increased to a great extent for PLGA:PEG4000 triblock copolymer. This is due to the increased water uptake capacity of the blended triblock copolymer, which encapsulated more doxorubicin molecules into a swollen copolymer matrix. The drug encapsulation efficiency achieved for Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles modified with PLGA:PEG2000, PLGA:PEG3000, and PLGA:PEG4000 copolymers was 69.5%, 73%, and 78%, respectively, and the release kinetics were controlled. The in vitro cytotoxicity test showed that the Fe3O4-PLGA:PEG4000 magnetic nanoparticles had no cytotoxicity and were biocompatible.
There is potential for use of these nanoparticles for biomedical application. Future work includes in vivo investigation of the targeting capability and effectiveness of these nanoparticles in the treatment of lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC3273983  PMID: 22334781
superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles; triblock copolymer; doxorubicin encapsulation; water uptake; drug encapsulation efficiency
14.  Endostar-loaded PEG-PLGA nanoparticles: in vitro and in vivo evaluation 
Endostar, a novel recombinant human endostatin, which was approved by the Chinese State Food and Drug Administration in 2005, has a broad spectrum of activity against solid tumors. In this study, we aimed to determine whether the anticancer effect of Endostar is increased by using a nanocarrier system. It is expected that the prolonged circulation of endostar will improve its anticancer activity. Endostar-loaded nanoparticles were prepared to improve controlled release of the drug in mice and rabbits, as well as its anticancer effects in mice with colon cancer. A protein release system could be exploited to act as a drug carrier. Nanoparticles were formulated from poly (ethylene glycol) modified poly (DL-lactide-co-glycolide) (PEG-PLGA) by a double emulsion technique. Physical and release characteristics of endostar-loaded nanoparticles in vitro were evaluated by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), photon correlation spectroscopy (PCS), and micro bicinchoninic acid protein assay. The pharmacokinetic parameters of endostar nanoparticles in rabbit and mice plasma were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Western blot was used to detect endostatin in different tissues. To study the effects of endostar-loaded nanoparticles in vivo, nude mice in which tumor cells HT-29 were implanted, were subsequently treated with endostar or endostar-loaded PEG-PLGA nanoparticles. Using TEM and PCS, endostar-loaded PEG-PLGA nanoparticles were found to have a spherical core-shell structure with a diameter of 169.56 ± 35.03 nm. Drug-loading capacity was 8.22% ± 2.35% and drug encapsulation was 80.17% ± 7.83%. Compared with endostar, endostar-loaded PEG-PLGA nanoparticles had a longer elimination half-life and lower peak concentration, caused slower growth of tumor cell xenografts, and prolonged tumor doubling times. The nanoparticles changed the pharmacokinetic characteristics of endostar in mice and rabbits, thereby reinforcing anticancer activity. In conclusion, PEG-PLGA nanoparticles are a feasible carrier for endostar. Endostar-loaded PEG-PLGA nanoparticles seem to have a better anticancer effect than conventional endostar. We believe that PEG-PLGA nanoparticles are an effective carrier for protein medicines.
PMCID: PMC3000203  PMID: 21170352
medical physics; biologic physics; nanoparticles
15.  Stability of Proteins Encapsulated in Injectable and Biodegradable Poly(lactide-co-glycolide)-Glucose Millicylinders 
To characterize protein stability in poly (lactide-co-glycolide) 50/50-glucose star (PLGA-Glu) injectable millicylinders and to compare results with linear PLGA 50/50.
Bovine serum albumin (BSA), a model protein, was encapsulated in PLGA-Glu and linear PLGA millicylinders by solvent extrusion and incubated under physiological conditions. Important system properties were characterized, including: polymer molecular weight distribution, soluble acidic residues, polymer morphology, polymer water uptake, microclimate pH, protein content and release, and protein aggregation. The polymer microclimate late in the release incubation was simulated and protein recovery was analyzed by UV280, size exclusion chromatography, amino acid analysis, and a modified Bradford assay.
PLGA-Glu contained higher levels of low molecular weight oligomers, more rapidly biodegraded, and exhibited a lower microclimate pH than the linear 50/50 PLGA, which is the most acidic type in the PLGA family. BSA, when encapsulated in PLGA-Glu millicylinders, underwent extensive noncovalent insoluble aggregation over 2 weeks in vitro release, which was almost completely inhibited upon co-encapsulation of Mg(OH)2. However, by 5 weeks release for base-containing formulations, although insoluble aggregation was still suppressed, the soluble fraction of protein in the polymer was unrecoverable by the modified Bradford assay. Polymer microclimate simulations with extensive protein analysis strongly suggested that the low recovery was mostly caused by base-catalyzed hydrolysis of the oligomeric fraction of BSA.
In PLGA-Glu, the acidic microclimate was similarly responsible for insoluble aggregation of encapsulated BSA. BSA aggregation was inhibited in millicylinders by co-incorporation into the polymer insoluble base, but over a shorter release interval than linear PLGA likely because of a more acidic microclimate in the star polymer.
PMCID: PMC4269258  PMID: 18384984
Poly (dL-lactide-co-glycolide); Poly (dL-lactide-co-glycolide)-glucose; Controlled-release; Protein stability; Acidic microenvironment
16.  The effects of substrate stiffness on the in vitro activation of macrophages and in vivo host response to poly(ethylene glycol)-based hydrogels 
Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogels, modified with RGD, are promising platforms for cell encapsulation and tissue engineering. While these hydrogels offer tunable mechanical properties, the extent of the host response may limit their in vivo applicability. The overall objective was to characterize the effects of hydrogel stiffness on the in vitro macrophage response and in vivo host response. We hypothesized that stiffer substrates induce better attachment, adhesion and increased cell spreading, which elevates the macrophage classically activated phenotype and leads to a more severe foreign body reaction (FBR). PEG-RGD hydrogels were fabricated with compressive moduli of 130, 240 and 840kPa, and the same RGD concentration. Hydrogel stiffness did not impact macrophage attachment, but elicited differences in cell morphology. Cells retained a round morphology on 130kPa substrates, with localized and dense F-actin and localized αV integrin stainings. Contrarily, cells on stiffer substrates were more spread, with filopodia protruding from the cell, a more defined F-actin, and greater αV integrin staining. When stimulated with lipopolysaccharide, macrophages had a classical activation phenotype, with increased expression of TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6, however the degree of activation was significantly reduced with the softest hydrogels. A FBR ensued in response to all hydrogels when implanted subcutaneously in mice, but 28 days post-implantation the layer of macrophages at the implant surface was significantly lower in the softest hydrogels. In conclusion, hydrogels with lower stiffness led to reduced macrophage activation and a less severe and more typical FBR, and therefore are more suited for in vivo tissue engineering applications.
PMCID: PMC3339197  PMID: 22407522
Poly(ethylene glycol); hydrogel; macrophage/ monocyte; foreign body reaction; RGD
17.  Preparation, in vitro release, in vivo absorption and biocompatibility studies of insulin-loaded microspheres in rabbits 
AAPS PharmSciTech  2005;6(3):E487-E494.
The purpose of this study was to develop a single-dose insulin delivery system based on poly (lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) microspheres to provide basal insulin level for a prolonged period. Insulin-loaded PLGA microspheres were prepared by water-in-oil-in-water double emulsion (batch A) and solid-in0oil-in-water emulsion (batch B) methods. Microspheres were characterized for physical characteristics and in vitro release. In vivo absorption of insulin and biocompatibility of insulin-loaded PLGA microspheres were performed in diabetic New Zealand white rabbits. Light and transmission electron microscopy were performed on the skin tissues excised from microspheres injected sites in order to study the biocompatibility. The burst release of insulin was high (47%) from batch B and low (5%) from batch A. Therefore, we mixed microspheres of batch A and B in ratio of 3∶ w/w, which produced desirable in vitro release profile. In vivo absorption study showed that insulin-loaded microspheres provided a serum insulin level of 20–40 μU/ml up to 40 days. Biocompatibility study provided evidence of normal inflammatory and foreign body reactions, which were characterized by the presence of macrophages, fibroblasts and foreign body giant cells. Neither necrosis nor tissue damage was identified. At the end of 12 weeks, no distinct histological differences were observed in comparison to the control tissue samples. In conclusion, insulin-loaded PLGA microspheres controlled the in vivo absorption of insulin to maintain the basal insulin level for longer period and the delivery system was biocompatible.
PMCID: PMC2750395  PMID: 16354009
PLGA; microspheres; insulin; in vivo absorption; biocompatibility
18.  Retention of in vitro and in vivo BMP-2 bioactivity in sustained delivery vehicles for bone tissue engineering 
Biomaterials  2008;29(22):3245-3252.
In this study, we investigated the in vitro and in vivo biologic activity of bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) released from four sustained delivery vehicles for bone regeneration. BMP-2 was incorporated in 1) a gelatin hydrogel, 2) poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microspheres embedded in a gelatin hydrogel, 3) microspheres embedded in a poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF) scaffold and 4) microspheres embedded in a PPF scaffold surrounded by a gelatin hydrogel. A fraction of the incorporated BMP-2 was radiolabeled with 125I to determine its in vitro and in vivo release profiles. The release and bioactivity of BMP-2 were tested weekly over a period of 12 weeks in preosteoblast W20-17 cell line culture and in a rat subcutaneous implantation model. Outcome parameters for in vitro and in vivo bioactivity of the released BMP-2 were alkaline phosphatase (AP) induction and bone formation, respectively. The four implant types showed different in vitro release profiles over the 12-week period, which changed significantly upon implantation. The AP induction by BMP-2 released from gelatin implants showed a loss in bioactivity after 6 weeks in culture, while the BMP-2 released from the other implants continued to show bioactivity over the full 12-week period. Micro-CT and histological analysis of the delivery vehicles after 6 weeks of implantation showed significantly more bone in the microsphere/PPF scaffold composites (implant 3, p < 0.02). After 12 weeks, the amount of newly formed bone in the microsphere/PPF scaffolds remained significantly higher than in the gelatin and microsphere/gelatin hydrogels (p < 0.001), however there was no statistical difference compared to the microsphere/PPF/gelatin composite. Overall, the results from this study show that BMP-2 could be incorporated into various bone tissue engineering composites for sustained release over a prolonged period of time with retention of bioactivity.
PMCID: PMC2577841  PMID: 18472153
19.  Biocompatibility and Biodegradation Studies of Subconjunctival Implants in Rabbit Eyes 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22507.
Sustained ocular drug delivery is difficult to achieve. Most drugs have poor penetration due to the multiple physiological barriers of the eye and are rapidly cleared if applied topically. Biodegradable subconjunctival implants with controlled drug release may circumvent these two problems. In our study, two microfilms (poly [d,l-lactide-co-glycolide] PLGA and poly[d,l-lactide-co-caprolactone] PLC were developed and evaluated for their degradation behavior in vitro and in vivo. We also evaluated the biocompatibility of both microfilms. Eighteen eyes (9 rabbits) were surgically implanted with one type of microfilm in each eye. Serial anterior-segment optical coherence tomography (AS-OCT) scans together with serial slit-lamp microscopy allowed us to measure thickness and cross-sectional area of the microfilms. In vitro studies revealed bulk degradation kinetics for both microfilms, while in vivo studies demonstrated surface erosion kinetics. Serial slit-lamp microscopy revealed no significant inflammation or vascularization in both types of implants (mean increase in vascularity grade PLGA50/50 12±0.5% vs. PLC70/30 15±0.6%; P = 0.91) over a period of 6 months. Histology, immunohistochemistry and immuno-fluorescence also revealed no significant inflammatory reaction from either of the microfilms, which confirmed that both microfilms are biocompatible. The duration of the drug delivery can be tailored by selecting the materials, which have different degradation kinetics, to suit the desired clinical therapeutic application.
PMCID: PMC3142149  PMID: 21799878
20.  Investigation of potential injectable polymeric biomaterials for bone regeneration 
This article reviews the potential injectable polymeric biomaterial scaffolds currently being investigated for application in bone tissue regeneration. Two types of injectable biomaterial scaffolds are focused in this review, including injectable microspheres and injectable gels. The injectable microspheres section covers several polymeric materials, including poly(l-lactide-co-glycolide)-PLGA, poly (propylene fumarate), and chitosan. The injectable gel section covers alginate gels, hyaluronan hydrogels, poly(ethylene-glycol)-PEG hydrogels, and PEG-PLGA copolymer hydrogels. This review focuses on the effect of cellular behaviorin vitro andin vivo in terms of material properties of polymers, such as biodegradation, biocompatibility, porosity, microsphere size, and cross-linking nature. Injectable polymeric biomaterials offer a major advantage for orthopedic applications by allowing the ability to use noninvasive or minimally invasive treatment methods. Therefore, combining injectable polymeric biomaterial scaffolds with cells have a significant potential to treat orthopedic bone defects, including spine fusion, and craniofacial and periodontal defects.
PMCID: PMC4135428  PMID: 23401336
injectable; bone regeneration; biocompatibility; gel; polymer; microspheres; biodegradation; stem cells
21.  Maintaining Functional Islets through Encapsulation in an Injectable Saccharide-Peptide Hydrogel 
Biomaterials  2013;34(16):3984-3991.
Islet transplantation offers a promising treatment for type 1 diabetes (T1D). However, a major hurdle in this treatment is the rapid loss of functional islets during culture and after transplantation. The liver site, currently utilized for transplantation, is suboptimal for achieving long-term insulin independence due to a rapid islet loss followed by a chronic decline in islet function after transplantation. Herein, we report a synthetic saccharide-peptide (SP) hydrogel that allows suspending islets in liquid and injecting for in situ polymerization without forming islet clumps, indicating its potential in extrahepatic islet transplantation. In vitro, rat islets in SP hydrogel maintained a 3D structure and high glucose-stimulated insulin release similar to that observed in freshly isolated islets for 4 weeks, while control islets cultured in suspension lost their 3D structure and insulin release responses by 2 weeks. Biocompatibility of SP hydrogel was shown by the absence of cytokine mRNA activation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) exposed to hydrogel in vitro and by the absence of cellular infiltrates in and around the hydrogel implanted subcutaneously. Syngeneic Lewis rat islets transplanted in SP hydrogel in various extrahepatic sites stained strongly for insulin, and more effectively reversed diabetes than unencapsulated islets when transplanted in an omental pocket. In conclusion, the SP hydrogel is non-cytotoxic and supports normal islet structure and function both in vitro and in vivo. Specifically, the ability of the hydrogel to separate individual islets after transplantation is important for maintaining their function in vivo. This important property, combined with the versatility and biocompatibility, makes our SP hydrogel a promising synthetic scaffold that can facilitate transplantation of organized heterogeneous cells to preserve their micro-structure and function.
PMCID: PMC3604994  PMID: 23465491
Hydrogel; Extrahepatic Islet Transplantation; Tissue Engineering; 3D Islet Culture; Diabetes
22.  Nanoparticles of Poly(Lactide-Co-Glycolide)-d-a-Tocopheryl Polyethylene Glycol 1000 Succinate Random Copolymer for Cancer Treatment 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2010;5(7):1161-1169.
Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. Nanomaterials and nanotechnologies could provide potential solutions. In this research, a novel biodegradable poly(lactide-co-glycolide)-d-a-tocopheryl polyethylene glycol 1000 succinate (PLGA-TPGS) random copolymer was synthesized from lactide, glycolide and d-a-tocopheryl polyethylene glycol 1000 succinate (TPGS) by ring-opening polymerization using stannous octoate as catalyst. The obtained random copolymers were characterized by 1H NMR, FTIR, GPC and TGA. The docetaxel-loaded nanoparticles made of PLGA-TPGS copolymer were prepared by a modified solvent extraction/evaporation method. The nanoparticles were then characterized by various state-of-the-art techniques. The results revealed that the size of PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles was around 250 nm. The docetaxel-loaded PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles could achieve much faster drug release in comparison with PLGA nanoparticles. In vitro cellular uptakes of such nanoparticles were investigated by CLSM, demonstrating the fluorescence PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles could be internalized by human cervix carcinoma cells (HeLa). The results also indicated that PLGA-TPGS-based nanoparticles were biocompatible, and the docetaxel-loaded PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles had significant cytotoxicity against Hela cells. The cytotoxicity against HeLa cells for PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles was in time- and concentration-dependent manner. In conclusion, PLGA-TPGS random copolymer could be acted as a novel and promising biocompatible polymeric matrix material applicable to nanoparticle-based drug delivery system for cancer chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC2893931  PMID: 20596457
PLGA-TPGS; Random copolymer; Docetaxel; Nanoparticle; HeLa; Cancer chemotherapy
23.  Nanoparticles of Poly(Lactide-Co-Glycolide)-d-a-Tocopheryl Polyethylene Glycol 1000 Succinate Random Copolymer for Cancer Treatment 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2010;5(7):1161-1169.
Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. Nanomaterials and nanotechnologies could provide potential solutions. In this research, a novel biodegradable poly(lactide-co-glycolide)-d-a-tocopheryl polyethylene glycol 1000 succinate (PLGA-TPGS) random copolymer was synthesized from lactide, glycolide and d-a-tocopheryl polyethylene glycol 1000 succinate (TPGS) by ring-opening polymerization using stannous octoate as catalyst. The obtained random copolymers were characterized by 1H NMR, FTIR, GPC and TGA. The docetaxel-loaded nanoparticles made of PLGA-TPGS copolymer were prepared by a modified solvent extraction/evaporation method. The nanoparticles were then characterized by various state-of-the-art techniques. The results revealed that the size of PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles was around 250 nm. The docetaxel-loaded PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles could achieve much faster drug release in comparison with PLGA nanoparticles. In vitro cellular uptakes of such nanoparticles were investigated by CLSM, demonstrating the fluorescence PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles could be internalized by human cervix carcinoma cells (HeLa). The results also indicated that PLGA-TPGS-based nanoparticles were biocompatible, and the docetaxel-loaded PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles had significant cytotoxicity against Hela cells. The cytotoxicity against HeLa cells for PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles was in time- and concentration-dependent manner. In conclusion, PLGA-TPGS random copolymer could be acted as a novel and promising biocompatible polymeric matrix material applicable to nanoparticle-based drug delivery system for cancer chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC2893931  PMID: 20596457
PLGA-TPGS; Random copolymer; Docetaxel; Nanoparticle; HeLa; Cancer chemotherapy
24.  Controlling Acute Inflammation with Fast Releasing Dexamethasone-PLGA Microsphere/PVA Hydrogel Composites for Implantable Devices 
Continuous release of dexamethasone from PLGA microsphere/PVA hydrogel composites has been shown to suppress the inflammatory tissue reaction in response to subcutaneously implanted foreign material for a period of one month. The scope of the present work is to investigate whether suppressing the initial acute inflammatory phase with fast releasing dexamethasone-PLGA microsphere/PVA composites (that release the drug over a period of one week) would prevent the development of a foreign body reaction in response to implantation in the subcutaneous tissue using a rat model.
Dexamethasone loaded PLGA microspheres were prepared using the solvent evaporation method. In vitro release from microspheres was analyzed using USP apparatus 4 in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) at 37°C. Composites were fabricated in 18G needles by freeze-thaw cycling the PVA/microsphere dispersion. The composites were implanted in the subcutaneous tissue of anesthetized rats. The pharmacodynamic effect was evaluated by histological examination of the tissue surrounding the composites at pre-determined time points.
In vitro release studies showed that most of the drug entrapped in the microspheres was released within one week. At days 3 and 8, these fast releasing dexamethasone containing composites suppressed the acute phase of inflammation but did not prevent the development of an inflammatory reaction after dexamethasone was completely released from the composites. By day 30, chronic inflammation and fibrosis were observed in the tissue surrounding the drug-containing composites. On days 3 and 8, the number of inflammatory cells in the vicinity of the dexamethasone containing composites was similar to that in normal tissue. However, the number of inflammatory cells was higher in drug-containing composites as compared to drug-free composites by day 30. This was due to the inflammation being in a more advanced stage in drug-free composites where a granulomatous reaction had already developed.
Fast release of dexamethasone from PLGA/PVA composites did not provide long-term protection against the foreign body reaction in response to implantation. It would appear that a sustained delivery of anti-inflammatory agents such as dexamethasone is necessary to suppress inflammation throughout the implant life-time.
PMCID: PMC2769608  PMID: 19888374
biosensor; continuous release; dexamethasone; foreign body reaction; implants; localized delivery; microspheres
25.  Microsphere Degradation in Outer Hydrogel Membranes Creates Macroscopic Porosity to Counter Biofouling-Induced Sensor Degradation 
Analytical chemistry  2012;84(20):8837-8845.
Biofouling and tissue inflammation present major challenges toward the realization of long-term implantable glucose sensors. Following sensor implantation, proteins and cells adsorb on sensor surfaces to not only inhibit glucose flux but also signal a cascade of inflammatory events that eventually lead to permeability-reducing fibrotic encapsulation. The use of drug-eluting hydrogels as outer sensor coatings has shown considerable promise to mitigate these problems via the localized delivery of tissue response modifiers to suppress inflammation and fibrosis, along with reducing protein and cell absorption. Biodegradable poly (lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) microspheres encapsulated within a poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA) hydrogel matrix, presents a model coating where the localized delivery of the potent anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone has been shown to suppress inflammation over a period of 1-3 months. Here it is shown that the degradation of the PLGA microspheres provides an auxiliary venue to offset the negative effects of protein adsorption. This was realized by: 1) the creation of fresh porosity within the PVA hydrogel following microsphere degradation (which is sustained until the complete microsphere degradation); and 2) rigidification of the PVA hydrogel to prevent its complete collapse onto the newly created void space. Incubation of the coated sensors in PBS buffer led to a monotonic increase in glucose permeability (50%), with a corresponding enhancement in sensor sensitivity over a one-month period. Incubation in serum resulted in biofouling and consequent clogging of the hydrogel microporosity. This however, was partially offset by the generated macroscopic porosity following microsphere degradation. As a result of this, a two-fold recovery in sensor sensitivity for devices with microsphere/hydrogel composite coatings was observed as opposed to similar devices with blank hydrogel coatings. These findings suggest that the use of macroscopic porosity can reduce sensitivity drifts resulting from biofouling and this can be achieved synergistically with current efforts to mitigate negative tissue responses through localized and sustained drug delivery.
PMCID: PMC3791326  PMID: 23039161

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