Shivani Singh, Benjamin M. Wu, James C. Y. Dunn
Establishing sufficient vascularization in scaffold remains a challenge for tissue-engineering. To improve angiogenesis, we incorporated vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in collagen-coating over the porous polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds. The release kinetics of loaded VEGF from collagen-coated PCL (col-PCL) scaffolds was same as from scaffolds without the collagen. The bioactivity of VEGF delivered by the col-PCL scaffolds was confirmed by human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) proliferation and chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay. The col-PCL scaffolds were implanted subcutaneously in mice for 7 and 14 days. At day 7, vascularization within scaffolds loaded with VEGF was superior to that in the scaffolds without VEGF. However, the vessel connectivity to host circulatory system was incomplete and restricted to the scaffold edges. At day 14, blood vessels in scaffolds reached density similar to the subcutaneous tissue and were perfusable throughout the implant thickness. Prewashing the scaffolds with saline to remove the unbound growth factor decreased the initial burst release and sustained the VEGF-mediated angiogenesis in vivo. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that physically adsorbed VEGF stimulated angiogenesis in collagen-coated PCL scaffolds.