ABSTRACT: To create a drug delivery system that allows the controlled release of proteins, such as growth factors, over a long-term period, cholesteryl group- and acryloyl group-bearing pullulan (CHPOA) nanogels were aggregated to form fast-degradable hydrogels (CHPOA/hydrogels) by cross-linking with thiol-bearing polyethylene glycol. The gold standard of clinical bone reconstruction therapy with a physiologically active material is treatment with recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2); however, this approach has limitations, such as inflammation, poor cost-efficiency, and varying interindividual susceptibility. In this study, two distinct growth factors, BMP2 and recombinant human fibroblast growth factor 18 (FGF18), were applied to a critical-size skull bone defect for bone repair by the CHPOA/hydrogel system. The CHPOA-FGF18/hydrogel displayed identical results to the control CHPOA-PBS/hydrogel, and the CHPOA-BMP2/hydrogel treatment imperfectly induced bone repair. By contrast, the CHPOA-FGF18 + BMP2/hydrogel treatment strongly enhanced and stabilized the BMP2-dependent bone repair, inducing osteoprogenitor cell infiltration inside and around the hydrogel. This report indicates that the CHPOA/hydrogel system can successfully deliver two different proteins to the bone defect to induce effective bone repair. The combination of the CHPOA/hydrogel system with the growth factors FGF18 and BMP2 might be a step towards efficient bone tissue engineering.
Biomaterials 07/2012; 33(30):7613-20. · 7.40 Impact Factor