INJECTABLE DELIVERY SYSTEM BASED ON 5-ETHYLENE KETAL-ε -CAPROLACTONE FOR THE DELIVERY OF VEGF AND HGF FOR TREATING CRITICAL LIMB ISCHEMIA
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The aim of this thesis is to determine the feasibility of an injectable delivery system based on 5-ethylene ketal ε-caprolactone for localized delivery of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) for treating critical limb ischemia. HGF and VEGF were chosen because of their ability to simultaneously stimulate the proliferation and migration of endothelial cells, to initiate the formation of blood vessels and the recruitment of pericytes to stabilize the blood vessels. Homopolymer of 5-ethylene ketal ε-caprolactone and its copolymer with D,L-Lactide were synthesized by ring opening polymerization using hydrophobic initiator (octan-1-ol) or an hydrophilic initiator (MPEG), and stannous octanoate as a co-initiator/catalyst. The resulting polymers were amorphous and viscous liquids at room temperature. The viscosity, biodegradation rate, and release rate were varied by copolymerizing with D,L-lactide and/or initiating with MPEG or octan-1-ol. In vitro, the polymers degraded with surface erosion characterized by a nearly linear mass loss with time with no significant change in number average molecular weight and glass transition temperature. The ratio of EKC to DLLA in the copolymer remained the same throughout the degradation studies. A similar degradation mechanism was observed in vivo when the copolymer initiated with octan-1-ol was implanted subcutaneously in rats. In vivo, the polymer exhibited a moderate chronic inflammatory response, characterized by the presence of neutrophils, macrophages, fibroblasts and fibrous capsule formation. The inflammatory response decreased with time but was still on going after 18 weeks of subcutaneous implantation. Protein release from the polymer was transported by convection through the hydrated polymer region, at a rate determined by the osmotic pressure generated and the hydraulic conductivity of the polymer. Highly bioactive VEGF and HGF were released in a sustained manner, without burst effect for over 41 days when delivered simultaneously, using the osmotic release mechanism. VEGF was released at the rate of 36 ± 7 ng/day for 41 days, while HGF was released at the rate of 16 ± 2 ng/day for 70 days. Factors that influenced release of proteins were their solubility in the concentrated trehalose solution and hydraulic permeability of the polymer. This delivery system can serve as a potential vehicle for controlled release of VEGF and HGF for treating critical limb ischemia or the controlled release of other proteins for other clinical applications.