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J Control Release. 2007 Sep 11;122(1):71-8. Epub 2007 Jun 22.

Release of model proteins and basic fibroblast growth factor from in situ forming degradable dextran hydrogels.

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Department of Polymer Chemistry and Biomaterials, Faculty of Science and Technology, Institute for Biomedical Technology (BMTi), University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands.


Our previous studies showed that degradable dextran hydrogels are rapidly formed in situ upon mixing aqueous solutions of dextran vinyl sulfone (dex-VS) conjugates and tetrafunctional mercapto poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG-4-SH) by Michael addition. The hydrogel degradation time and storage modulus could be controlled by the degree of vinyl sulfone substitution (DS) and dextran molecular weight. The degradation time could further be adjusted by the spacer between the thioether and the ester bond of the dex-VS conjugates (ethyl vs. propyl, denoted as dex-Et-VS and dex-Pr-VS, respectively). In this paper, the release of three model proteins, i.e. immunoglobulin G (d(h)=10.7 nm, IgG), bovine serum albumin (BSA, d(h)=7.2 nm) and lysozyme (d(h)=4.1 nm), as well as basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) from these in situ forming dextran hydrogels is studied. Proteins could be easily loaded into the hydrogels by mixing protein containing solutions of dex-VS and PEG-4-SH. The release of IgG from dex-Et-VS hydrogels followed biphasic release kinetics, with a slow, close to first order release for the first 9 days followed by an accelerated release and over 80% of IgG was released in 12 to 25 days. Interestingly, the release of IgG from dex-Pr-VS hydrogels followed close to zero order kinetics, wherein approximately 95% was released in 21 days. The release of BSA from dex-Pr-VS hydrogels followed biphasic kinetics, with almost first order release followed by close to zero order release. Approximately 75% of the entrapped BSA could be released from dex-Pr-VS hydrogels in 16 days. Dex-Pr-VS hydrogels released 40% of lysozyme in 14 days, with full preservation of the enzymatic activity of the released lysozyme, as determined by bacteria lysis experiments. The release of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) from dex-Pr-VS hydrogels showed first order kinetics, with quantitative release in 28 days. These results show that the in situ forming degradable dextran hydrogels can be used for the controlled release of proteins.

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