Regulated release of a novel non-viral gene delivery vector from electrospun coaxial fiber mesh scaffolds
Mikos, Antonios G.
Doctor of Philosophy
The development of novel strategies for tissue engineering entails the evolution of biopolymers into multifunctional constructs that can support the proliferation of cells and stimulate their differentiation into functional tissues. With that in mind, biocompatible polymers were fabricated into a novel gene delivery agent as well as three dimensional scaffolds that act as reservoirs and controlled release constructs. To fabricate a novel gene delivery agent a commercially available cationic polymer, poly(ethylenimine), PEI, was chemically conjugated to a ubiquitous glycosaminoglycan, hyaluronic acid (HA). The novel polymer, PEI-HA, had significantly reduced toxicity and improved transfection efficiency with multipotent human mesenchymal stem cells. This transfection efficiency could further be modulated by changing the concentration of sodium chloride and temperature used to assemble PEI-HA/DNA complexes. To facilitate the regulated delivery of these complexes in the context of tissue engineering, an emerging technology for scaffold fabrication, coaxial electrospinning was adapted to include PEI-HA and plasmid DNA within the scaffold fibers. Initially, a factorial design was employed to assess the influence of processing parameters in the absence of gene delivery vectors and plasmids. The study elucidated the role of sheath polymer concentration and core polymer concentration and molecular weight and the presence of sodium chloride on fiber diameters and morphologies. Subsequently, PEI-HA and plasmid DNA were entrapped within the sheath and core compartments of these fibers and the influence of processing parameters was assessed in the context of fiber diameter, release kinetics and transfection efficiency over a period of 60 days. The release of PEI-HA was found to be dependent upon the loading dose of the vector and plasmid. However, the transfection efficiency correlated to the core polymer properties, concentration and molecular weight. The processing parameters could modulate cell transfection for up to 21 days and continue to transfect cells for up to 60 days. Thus, scaffolds with tunable release kinetics and transfection efficiencies can be fabricated using coaxial electrospinning, which can further be used for tissue engineering and gene delivery applications.
Biomedical engineering; Materials science