A material that encourages blood vessels to form

In a further step forward in their quest to achieve functional biomaterials for tissue regeneration, IBEC’s Biomaterials for Regenerative Therapies group has revealed a new construct that enhances blood vessel formation and maturation in vivo.

In the paper published in Acta Biomaterialia at the end of last year, the group and their collaborators at the Georgia Institute of Technology present a new implantable hydrogel that contains both human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs) and calcium-releasing microparticles.

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Image:Human Mesenchymal Stem cells forming networks within a functionalized Polyethylene Glycol Hydrogel containing calcium-phosphate particles.

On their own, hMSCs can promote neovascularization, but when administered into the tissue, their survival rate is very low. Encapsulated in the biodegradable polyethylene glycol hydrogel, though, their number remained constant over time.

At the same time, the glass-ceramic particles provide the correct and sustained amount of calcium needed to stimulate angiogenesis, the process through which new blood vessels form from pre-existing vessels.

“This combination of hMSCs and calcium-releasing particles represents a new way to achieve stables blood vessel growth, which is a key factor in regenerating the body’s tissues,” says Claudia Navarro, first author of the paper and a PhD student in the IBEC group. “It could offer new avenues in finding treatments for disorders such as peripheral artery disease, heart attack or chronic wounds, all of which exhibit restricted blood supply to the tissue that impairs its repair and enhances its degeneration.”

Article citation: Navarro-Requena, C, Weaver, JD, Clark, AY, Clift, DA, Pérez-Amodio, S, Castaño, Ó, Zhou, DW, García, AJ, & Engel, E. (2017). PEG hydrogel containing calcium-releasing particles and mesenchymal stromal cells promote vessel maturation. Acta Biomater. S1742-7061 (17) 30765-1