Sustained release of vascular endothelial growth factor from calcium-induced alginate hydrogels reinforced by heparin and chitosan.

Research paper by K W KW Lee, J J JJ Yoon, J H JH Lee, S Y SY Kim, H J HJ Jung, S J SJ Kim, J W JW Joh, H H HH Lee, D S DS Lee, S K SK Lee

Indexed on: 25 Nov '04Published on: 25 Nov '04Published in: Transplantation Proceedings


A possible alternative for immunosuppression is a microencapsulation technique using hydrogels, which have been utilized for cell immobilization and drug delivery systems. Angiogenesis is crucial for delivery of the metabolic products to the host tissues as well as to supply oxygen and nutrients to cells. The local delivery of angiogenic growth factors, such as VEGF and basic FGF, has been recently studied to enhance angiogenesis on peripheral tissue of graft. In this study, we evaluated sustained VEGF release with a model using hydrogels coated with chitosan and heparin in vitro. We fabricated calcium alginate gels and chitosan-coated calcium alginate gels. Heparinized chitosan-coated calcium-induced alginate hydrogel beads were prepared by soaking chitosan-coated calcium alginate gels in heparin solution. We compared the stability and VEGF release manner between three kinds of hydrogels. To compare the stability, 5 mL of each hydrogel was incubated with 20 mL PBS under the rotational culture. Compression forces were measured using a rheometer. The amount of VEGF released from the gels was measured by ELISA. The heparin-coated chitosan alginate hydrogels showed the highest surface stability among the three hydrogels. VEGF from the heparinized gel was released in sustained manner up to 10 days in vitro. Chitosan-coated alginate gels released 90% of loaded VEGF within 5 days. These results suggest that local delivery of VEGF using a heparinized hydrogel may provide a long-term supply of angiogenic growth factor that might induce new vessel formation in vivo.