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Polymers for Induction of Revascularization in the Rat Fascial Flap: Application of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and Pancreatic Islet Cells

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One of the major obstacles in transplanting avascular tissue or metabolically active cells for ischemic diseases is the loss of transplanted cells due to lack of oxygen and nutrients in the early posttransplantation period. Biodegradable polymeric tissue engineering scaffolds and hydrogels have a potential to incorporate cells or cellular organoids such as islets of Langerhans and growth factors. In this study, we tested the efficiency of two types of polymeric materials to carry recombinant human vascular endothelial growth factor (rhVEGF) or pancreatic tumor cell lines, namely Ins-1 and AR42J, for the induction of new vessels. Chitosan hydrogel fibers with micropores were prepared and molded into a cylinder construct (5 mm φ; 8 mm height). Macroporous PLGA scaffolds with a pore size of 250–400 μm were prepared and cut into cylinders (6 mm φ; 3 mm height). Both chitosan and PLGA constructs were loaded with rhVEGF (3 μg) or seeded with the cell lines (5 × 105 cells and 3 × 105 cells/construct, respectively, for AR42J and INS-1 cells), and transplanted into the fascial flaps of Wistar rats. At distinct time points up to 4 weeks postimplantation, polymers were explanted, fixed, and vessel density was counted on sections stained with anti-Factor-VIII antibody. Additionally, the kinetics of rhVEGF release from PLGA microspheres (φ of 50–80 μm) was determined using VEGF Elisa. Endogenous VEGF release from pancreatic rat cell lines was also determined. Light microscopy study was performed on H&E-stained paraffin sections of the islet–polymer samples. The vascular density of rhVEGF-loaded chitosan constructs was increased fourfold 2 weeks after subcutaneous transplantation compared with rhVEGF-unloaded controls (465 ± 144 vs. 104 ± 80 vessels per mm2, p < 0.05). Protein leakage occurred, but was not observed after 2 weeks. Higher insulin content was detected in rat islet grafts transplanted following VEGF application. More than 50% of total rhVEGF was released on the first day of in vitro culture of PLGA microspheres. rhVEGF secretion had another, but smaller, peak on the third day followed by a constant release. By comparison, endogeneous VEGF secretion of pancreatic tumor cells was measured within a 3-day culture period. Biodegradable polymer scaffolds and hydrogels may have potential use as solid supports to induce angiogenesis for pancreatic cell transplantation.
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Keywords: Biodegradable polymers; Neovascularization; Pancreatic cell lines; Tissue engineering; VEGF; Vascular density

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: *Justus Liebig University, Medical Clinic and Policlinic 3, 35392 Giessen, Germany 2: †Ankara University, Science Faculty, Tissue Engineering & Biomaterials Laboratory, 06100 Ankara, Turkey

Publication date: 01 December 2002

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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