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1.  Non-invasive monitoring of BMP-2 retention and bone formation in composites for bone tissue engineering using SPECT/CT and scintillation probes 
Non-invasive imaging can provide essential information for the optimization of new drug delivery-based bone regeneration strategies to repair damaged or impaired bone tissue. This study investigates the applicability of nuclear medicine and radiological techniques to monitor growth factor retention profiles and subsequent effects on bone formation. Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2, 6.5 μg/scaffold) was incorporated into a sustained release vehicle consisting of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) microspheres embedded in a poly(propylene fumarate) scaffold surrounded by a gelatin hydrogel and implanted subcutaneously and in 5-mm segmental femoral defects in 9 rats for a period of 56 days. To determine the pharmacokinetic profile, BMP-2 was radiolabeled with 125I and the local retention of 125I-BMP-2 was measured by single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), scintillation probes and ex vivo scintillation analysis. Bone formation was monitored by micro-computed tomography (μCT). The scaffolds released BMP-2 in a sustained fashion over the 56-day implantation period. A good correlation between the SPECT and scintillation probe measurements was found and there were no significant differences between the non-invasive and ex-vivo counting method after 8 weeks of follow up. SPECT analysis of the total body and thyroid counts showed a limited accumulation of 125I within the body. Ectopic bone formation was induced in the scaffolds and the femur defects healed completely. In vivo μCT imaging detected the first signs of bone formation at days 14 and 28 for the orthotopic and ectopic implants, respectively, and provided a detailed profile of the bone formation rate. Overall, this study clearly demonstrates the benefit of applying non-invasive techniques in drug delivery-based bone regeneration strategies by providing detailed and reliable profiles of the growth factor retention and bone formation at different implantation sites in a limited number of animals.
doi:10.1016/j.jconrel.2008.11.023
PMCID: PMC3974410  PMID: 19105972
Drug delivery; Controlled release; Bone morphogenetic protein-2; Single photon emission computed; tomography; Scintillation probes; Micro-computed tomography
2.  A Differential Effect of Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Release Timing on Osteogenesis at Ectopic and Orthotopic Sites in a Large-Animal Model 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2012;18(19-20):2052-2062.
In bone tissue engineering, growth factors are widely used. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are the most well-known regulators of osteogenesis and angiogenesis. We investigated whether the timing of dual release of VEGF and BMP-2 influences the amount of bone formation in a large-animal model. Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microparticles (MPs) were loaded with BMP-2 or VEGF to create sustained-release profiles, and rapidly degrading gelatin was loaded with either growth factor for fast-release profiles. To study in vivo osteogenicity, the two delivery vehicles were combined with biphasic calcium phosphate (BCP) scaffolds and implanted in 10 Beagle dogs for 9 weeks, at both ectopic (paraspinal muscles) and orthotopic sites (critical-size ulnar defect). The 9 ectopic groups contained combined or single BMP/VEGF dosage, in sustained- or fast-release profiles. In the ulnae of 8 dogs, fast VEGF and sustained BMP-2 were applied to one leg, and the other received the opposite release profiles. The two remaining dogs received bilateral control scaffolds. Bone growth dynamics was analyzed by fluorochrome injection at weeks 3, 5, and 7. Postoperative and posteuthanization X-rays of the ulnar implants were taken. After 9 weeks of implantation, bone quantity and bone growth dynamics were studied by histology, histomorphometry, and fluorescence microscopy. The release of the growth factors resulted in both enhanced orthotopic and ectopic bone formation. Bone formation started before 3 weeks and continued beyond 7 weeks. The ectopic BMP-2 fast groups showed significantly more bone compared to sustained release, independent of the VEGF profile. The ulna implants revealed no significant differences in the amount of bone formed. This study shows that timing of BMP-2 release largely determines speed and amount of ectopic bone formation independent of VEGF release. Furthermore, at the orthotopic site, no significant effect on bone formation was found from a timed release of growth factors, implicating that timed-release effects are location dependent.
doi:10.1089/ten.tea.2011.0560
PMCID: PMC3463278  PMID: 22563713
3.  Enhanced Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2-Induced Ectopic and Orthotopic Bone Formation by Intermittent Parathyroid Hormone (1–34) Administration 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2010;16(12):3769-3777.
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) play a central role in local bone regeneration strategies, whereas the anabolic features of parathyroid hormone (PTH) are particularly appealing for the systemic treatment of generalized bone loss. The aim of the current study was to investigate whether local BMP-2-induced bone regeneration could be enhanced by systemic administration of PTH (1–34). Empty or BMP-2-loaded poly(lactic-co glycolic acid)/poly(propylene fumarate)/gelatin composites were implanted subcutaneously and in femoral defects in rats (n = 9). For the orthotopic site, empty defects were also tested. Each of the conditions was investigated in combination with daily administered subcutaneous PTH (1–34) injections in the neck. After 8 weeks of implantation, bone mineral density (BMD) and bone volume were analyzed using microcomputed tomography and histology. Ectopic bone formation and almost complete healing of the femoral defect were only seen in rats that received BMP-2-loaded composites. Additional treatment of the rats with PTH (1–34) resulted in significantly (p < 0.05) enhanced BMD and bone volume in the BMP-2 composites at both implantation sites. Despite its effect on BMD in the humerus and vertebra, PTH (1–34) treatment had no significant effect on BMD and bone volume in the empty femoral defects and the ectopically or orthotopically implanted empty composites. Histological analysis showed that the newly formed bone had a normal woven and trabecular appearance. Overall, this study suggests that intermittent administration of a low PTH dose alone has limited potential to enhance local bone regeneration in a critical-sized defect in rats. However, when combined with local BMP-2-releasing scaffolds, PTH administration significantly enhanced osteogenesis in both ectopic and orthotopic sites.
doi:10.1089/ten.tea.2010.0173
PMCID: PMC2991197  PMID: 20666615
4.  The Roles of Matrix Polymer Crystallinity and Hydroxyapatite Nanoparticles in Modulating Material Properties of Photo-crosslinked Composites and Bone Marrow Stromal Cell Responses 
Biomaterials  2009;30(20):3359-3370.
Two poly(ε-caprolactone fumarate)s (PCLFs) with distinct physical properties have been employed to prepare nanocomposites with hydroxyapatite (HA) nanoparticles via photo-crosslinking. The two PCLFs are PCLF530 and PCLF2000, named after their precursor PCL diol molecular weight of 530 and 2000 g.mol-1, respectively. Crosslinked PCLF530 is amorphous while crosslinked PCLF2000 is semi-crystalline with a melting temperature (Tm) of ∼40 °C and a crystallinity of 40%. Consequently, the rheological and mechanical properties of crosslinked PCLF2000 are significantly greater than those of crosslinked PCLF530. Structural characterizations and physical properties of both series of crosslinked PCLF/HA nanocomposites with HA compositions of 0%, 5%, 10%, 20%, and 30% have been investigated. By adding HA nanoparticles, crosslinked PCLF530/HA nanocomposites demonstrate enhanced rheological and mechanical properties while the enhancement in compressive modulus is less prominent in crosslinked PCLF2000/HA nanocomposites. In vitro cell attachment and proliferation have been performed using rat bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) and correlated with the material properties. Cell attachment and proliferation on crosslinked PCLF530/HA nanocomposite disks have been enhanced strongly with increasing the HA composition. However, surface morphology and surface chemistry such as composition, hydrophilicity, and the capability of adsorbing protein cannot be used to interpret the cell responses on different samples. Instead, the role of surface stiffness in regulating cell responses can be supported by the correlation between the change in compressive modulus and BMSC proliferation on these two series of crosslinked PCLFs and PCLF/HA nanocomposites.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2009.03.015
PMCID: PMC2868517  PMID: 19339048
Polycaprolactone fumarate (PCLF); Hydroxyapatite (HA); Nanocomposite; Photo-crosslinking; Bone marrow stromal cell responses
5.  Effect of Autologous Bone Marrow Stromal Cell Seeding and Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 Delivery on Ectopic Bone Formation in a Microsphere/Poly(Propylene Fumarate) Composite 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2008;15(3):587-594.
A biodegradable microsphere/scaffold composite based on the synthetic polymer poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF) holds promise as a scaffold for cell growth and sustained delivery vehicle for growth factors for bone regeneration. The objective of the current work was to investigate the in vitro release and in vivo bone forming capacity of this microsphere/scaffold composite containing bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) in combination with autologous bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) in a goat ectopic implantation model. Three composites consisting of 0, 0.08, or 8 μg BMP-2 per mg of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) microspheres, embedded in a porous PPF scaffold, were combined with either plasma (no cells) or culture-expanded BMSCs. PPF scaffolds impregnated with a BMP-2 solution and combined with BMSCs as well as empty PPF scaffolds were also tested. The eight different composites were implanted subcutaneously in the dorsal thoracolumbar area of goats. Incorporation of BMP-2–loaded microspheres in the PPF scaffold resulted in a more sustained in vitro release with a lower burst phase, as compared to BMP-2–impregnated scaffolds. Histological analysis after 9 weeks of implantation showed bone formation in the pores of 11/16 composites containing 8 μg/mg BMP-2–loaded microspheres with no significant difference between composites with or without BMSCs (6/8 and 5/8, respectively). Bone formation was also observed in 1/8 of the BMP-2–impregnated scaffolds. No bone formation was observed in the other conditions. Overall, this study shows the feasibility of bone induction by BMP-2 release from microspheres/scaffold composites.
doi:10.1089/ten.tea.2007.0376
PMCID: PMC2810278  PMID: 18925831
6.  Non-invasive screening method for simultaneous evaluation of in vivo growth factor release profiles from multiple ectopic bone tissue engineering implants 
The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a screening method based on scintillation probes for the simultaneous evaluation of in vivo growth factor release profiles of multiple implants in the same animal. First, we characterized the scintillation probes in a series of in vitro experiments to optimize the accuracy of the measurement setup. The scintillation probes were found to have a strong geometric dependence and experience saturation effects at high activities. In vitro simulation of 4 subcutaneous limb implants in a rat showed minimal interference of surrounding implants on local measurements at close to parallel positioning of the probes. These characteristics were taken into consideration for the design of the probe setup and in vivo experiment. The measurement setup was then validated in a rat subcutaneous implantation model using 4 different sustained release carriers loaded with 125I-BMP-2 per animal. The implants were removed after 42 or 84 days of implantation, for comparison of the non-invasive method to ex-vivo radioisotope counting. The non-invasive method demonstrated a good correlation with the ex-vivo counting method at both time-points of all 4 carriers. Overall, this study showed that scintillation probes could be successfully used for paired measurement of 4 release profiles with minimal interference of the surrounding implants, and may find use as non-invasive screening tools for various drug delivery applications.
doi:10.1016/j.jconrel.2008.05.004
PMCID: PMC2601638  PMID: 18554743
Controlled drug delivery; non-invasive screening; scintillation detector; radiolabelled growth factor; method validation

Results 1-6 (6)