Growth factors promote plasticity in injured brain and improve impaired functions. For clinical application, efficient approaches for growth factor delivery into the brain are necessary. Poly(ester amide) (PEA)-derived microspheres (MS) could serve as vehicles due to their thermal and mechanical properties, biocompatibility and biodegradability. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) exerts both vascular and neuronal actions, making it suitable to stimulate post-stroke recovery. Here, PEA (composed of adipic acid, L-phenyl-alanine and 1,4-butanediol) MS were loaded with VEGF and injected intracerebrally in mice subjected to cortical stroke. Loaded MS provided sustained release of VEGF in vitro and, after injection, biologically active VEGF was released long-term, as evidenced by high VEGF immunoreactivity, increased VEGF tissue levels, and higher vessel density and more NG2+ cells in injured hemisphere of animals with VEGF-loaded as compared to non-loaded MS. Loaded MS gave rise to more rapid recovery of neurological score. Both loaded and non-loaded MS induced improvement in neurological score and adhesive removal test, probably due to anti-inflammatory action. In summary, grafted PEA MS can act as efficient vehicles, with anti-inflammatory action, for long-term delivery of growth factors into injured brain. Our data suggest PEA MS as a new tool for neurorestorative approaches with therapeutic potential.
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- Medical Materials