Damage of non-vascularised tissues such as cartilage and cornea can result in healing processes accompanied by a non-physiological angiogenesis. Peptidic aptamers have recently been reported to block the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). However, the therapeutic applications of these aptamers is limited due to their short half-lifein vivo. In this work, an enhanced stability and bioavailability of a known VEGF blocker aptamer sequence (WHLPFKC) was pursued through its tethering of molecular scaffolds based on hyperbranched peptides, the poly(ɛ-lysine) dendrons, bearing three branching generations. The proposed design allowed simultaneous and orderly-spaced exposure of sixteen aptamers per dendrimer to the surrounding biological microenvironent, as well as a relatively hydrophobic core based on di-phenylalanine aiming to promote an hydrophobic interaction with the hydrophobic moieties of ionically-crosslinked metacrylated gellan gum (iGG-MA) hydrogels. The VEGF blocker dendrons were entrapped in iGG-MA hydrogels and their capacity to prevent endothelial cell sprouting was assessed qualitatively and quantitatively using 3Din vitromodels and thein vivochick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay. The data demonstrate that at nanoscale concentrations, the dendronised structures were able to enhance control of the biological actvity of WHLPFKC at the material/tissue interface and hence the anti-angiogenic capacity of iGG-MA hydrogels not only preventing blood vessel invasion, but also inducing their regression at the tissue/iGG-MA interface. Thein ovostudy confirmed that iGG-MA functionalised with the dendron VEGF blockers do inhibit angiogenesis by controlling both size and ramifications of blood vessels in proximity of the implanted gel surface.
Perugini, V., Guildford, A., Silva-Correia, J., Oliveira, J., Meikle, S., Reis, R., & Santin, M. (2016). Anti-angiogenic Potential of VEGF Blocker Dendron-laden Gellan Gum Hydrogels for Tissue Engineering Applications. Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, 12(2). https://doi.org/10.1002/term.2340