A sulfonated reversible thermal gel for the spatiotemporal control of VEGF delivery to promote therapeutic angiogenesis
Despite medical and surgical advancements for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, mortality and morbidity remain high. Therapeutic angiogenesis has been one approach to address the major clinical need for a more effective treatment, but current progress in angiogenic drug delivery is inadequate at providing sufficient bioavailability without causing safety concerns. An injectable sulfonated reversible thermal gel composed of a polyurea conjugated with poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) and sulfonate groups has been developed for the electrostatic binding and delivery of angiogenic factors. The thermal gel allowed for the spatiotemporal control of vascular endothelial growth factor release with a decreased initial burst release and reduced release rate in vitro. A subcutaneous injection mouse model was used to evaluate efficacious vascularization and assess the inflammatory response due to a foreign body. Thermal gel injections showed substantial vascularization properties by inducing vessel formation, recruitment and differentiation of vascular endothelial cells, and vessel stabilization by perivascular cells, while infiltrating macrophages due to the thermal gel injections decreased over time. These results demonstrated effective localization and delivery of angiogenic factors for therapeutic angiogenesis.