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Biomaterials. 2012 Nov;33(31):7849-57. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.07.005. Epub 2012 Jul 24.

Synergistic effects of SDF-1α chemokine and hyaluronic acid release from degradable hydrogels on directing bone marrow derived cell homing to the myocardium.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Poor cell engraftment in the myocardium is a limiting factor towards the use of bone marrow derived cells (BMCs) to treat myocardial infarction (MI). In order to enhance the engraftment of circulating BMCs in the myocardium following MI, we have developed in situ forming hyaluronic acid (HA) hydrogels with degradable crosslinks to sustain the release of recombinant stromal cell-derived factor-1 alpha (rSDF-1α) and HA to the injured myocardium. Both rSDF-1α and the crosslinkable HA macromer stimulate BMC chemotaxis up to 4-fold in vitro through CXCR4 and CD44 receptor signaling, respectively. Moreover, the HA macromer binds rSDF-1α with a dissociation constant of 36 ± 5 μM through electrostatic interaction. When formed into hydrogels via photoinitiated crosslinking, release of encapsulated rSDF-1α and crosslinked HA was sustained for over 7 days, and these molecules significantly increased BMC chemotaxis in vitro. When applied to the heart following experimental MI in mice, the HA gel containing rSDF-1α significantly increased the number of systemically infused BMCs in the heart by ~8.5 fold after 7 days, likely through both systemic and local effects of released molecules. We conclude that sustained release of rSDF-1α and HA from our engineered HA hydrogels enhances BMC homing to the remodeling myocardium better than delivery of rSDF-1α alone.

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