A novel therapeutic scaffolding system of engineered nanocarriers within a foam matrix for the long-term and sequential delivery of growth factors is reported. Mesoporous silica nanospheres were first functionalized to have an enlarged mesopore size (12.2 nm) and aminated surface, which was then shelled by a biopolymer, poly(lactic acid) (PLA) or poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), via electrospraying. The hybrid nanocarrier was subsequently combined with collagen to produce foam scaffolds. Bovine serum albumin (BSA), used as a model protein, was effectively loaded within the enlarged nanospheres. The biopolymer shell substantially prolonged the release period of BSA (2-3 weeks from shelled nanospheres vs. within 1 week from bare nanospheres), and the release rate was highly dependent on the shell composition (PEG > PLA). Collagen foam scaffolding of the shelled nanocarrier further slowed down the protein release, while enabling the incorporation of a rapidly releasing protein, which is effective for sequential protein delivery. Acidic fibroblast growth factor (aFGF), loaded onto the shelled-nanocarrier scaffolds, was released over a month at a highly sustainable rate, profiling a release pattern similar to that of BSA. The biological activity of the aFGF was evidenced by the significant proliferation of osteoblastic precursor cells in the aFGF-releasing scaffolds. Furthermore, the aFGF-delivering scaffolds implanted in rat subcutaneous tissue for 2 weeks showed a substantially enhanced invasion of fibroblasts with a homogeneous population. Taken together, it is concluded that the biopolymer encapsulation of mesoporous nanospheres effectively prolongs the release of growth factors over weeks to a month, providing a nanocarrier platform for a long-term growth factor delivery. Moreover, the foam scaffolding of the nanocarrier system is a potential therapeutic three-dimensional matrix for cell culture and tissue engineering. © 2014 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Kim, T. H., Eltohamy, M., Kim, M., Perez, R. A., Kim, J. H., Yun, Y. R., … Kim, H. W. (2014). Therapeutic foam scaffolds incorporating biopolymer-shelled mesoporous nanospheres with growth factors. Acta Biomaterialia, 10(6), 2612–2621. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2014.02.005