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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Feb 23;107(8):3323-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0905447107. Epub 2009 Dec 31.

Bioartificial matrices for therapeutic vascularization.

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Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA.


Therapeutic vascularization remains a significant challenge in regenerative medicine applications. Whether the goal is to induce vascular growth in ischemic tissue or scale up tissue-engineered constructs, the ability to induce the growth of patent, stable vasculature is a critical obstacle. We engineered polyethylene glycol-based bioartificial hydrogel matrices presenting protease-degradable sites, cell-adhesion motifs, and growth factors to induce the growth of vasculature in vivo. Compared to injection of soluble VEGF, these matrices delivered sustained in vivo levels of VEGF over 2 weeks as the matrix degraded. When implanted subcutaneously in rats, degradable constructs containing VEGF and arginine-glycine-aspartic acid tripeptide induced a significant number of vessels to grow into the implant at 2 weeks with increasing vessel density at 4 weeks. The mechanism of enhanced vascularization is likely cell-demanded release of VEGF, as the hydrogels may degrade substantially within 2 weeks. In a mouse model of hind-limb ischemia, delivery of these matrices resulted in significantly increased rate of reperfusion. These results support the application of engineered bioartificial matrices to promote vascularization for directed regenerative therapies.

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