Development of injectable, long-lasting, contraceptive drug delivery formulations and implants are highly desired to avoid unplanned pregnancies while improving patient compliance and reducing adverse side effects and treatment costs. The present study reports on the fabrication and characterization of two levonorgestrel (LNG) microsphere injectable formulations. Poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) with 12.5% and 24% (w/w) LNG were fabricated into microspheres, measuring 300±125 μm, the oil-in-water (o/w) emulsion solvent evaporation technique. Formulations showed sustained drug release up to 120 days. FTIR, XRD, DSC, and TGA confirmed the absence of LNG chemical interaction with PCL as well as its molecular level distribution. The release of LNG was calculated to be Fickian diffusion controlled and properly characterized. The inclusion of multiple elevated release temperatures allowed for the application of the Arrhenius model to calculate drug release constants and representative sampling intervals, demonstrating the use of elevated temperatures for accelerated-time drug release studies.
Peripheral nerve injury accounts for roughly 2.8% of all trauma patients with an annual cost of 7 billion USD in the U.S. alone. Current treatment options rely on surgical intervention with the use of an autograft, despite associated shortcomings. Engineered nerve guidance conduits, stem cell therapies, and transient electrical stimulation have reported to increase speeds of functional recovery. As an alternative to the conduction effects of electrical stimulation, we have designed and optimized a nerve guidance conduit with aligned microchannels for the sustained release of a small molecule drug that promotes nerve impulse conduction. A biodegradable chitosan structure reinforced with drug-loaded halloysite nanotubes (HNT) was formed into a foam-like conduit with interconnected, longitudinally-aligned pores with an average pore size of 59.3±14.2µm. The aligned composite with HNTs produced anisotropic mechanical behavior with a Young's modulus of 0.33±0.1MPa, very similar to that of native peripheral nerve. This manuscript reports on the sustained delivery of 4-Aminopyridine (4AP, molecular weight 94.1146g/mol), a potassiumchannel blocker as a growth factor alternative to enhance the rate of nerve regeneration. The conduit formulation released a total of 30±2% of the encapsulated 4AP in the first 7 days. Human Schwann cells showed elevated expression of key proteins such as nerve growth factor, myelin protein zero, and brain derived neurotrophic factor in a 4AP dose dependent manner. Preliminary in vivo studies in a critical-sized sciatic nerve defect in Wistar rats confirmed conduit suturability and strength to withstand ambulatory forces over 4 weeks of their implantation. Histological evaluations suggest conduit biocompatibility and Schwann cell infiltration and organization within the conduit and lumen. These nerve guidance conduits and 4AP sustained delivery may serve as an attractive strategy for nerve repair and regeneration.
Use of growth factors as biochemical molecules to elicit cellular differentiation is a common strategy in tissue engineering. However, limitations associated with growth factors, such as short half‐life, high effective physiological doses, and high costs, have prompted the search for growth factor alternatives, such as growth factor mimics and other proteins. This work explores the use of insulin protein as a biochemical factor to aid in tendon healing and differentiation of cells on a biomimetic electrospun micro‐nanostructured scaffold. Dose response studies were conducted using human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in basal media supplemented with varied insulin concentrations. A dose of 100‐ng/mL insulin showed increased expression of tendon markers. Synthetic‐natural blends of various ratios of polycaprolactone (PCL) and cellulose acetate (CA) were used to fabricate micro‐nanofibers to balance physicochemical properties of the scaffolds in terms of mechanical strength, hydrophilicity, and insulin delivery. A 75:25 ratio of PCL:CA was found to be optimal in promoting cellular attachment and insulin immobilization. Insulin immobilized fiber matrices also showed increased expression of tendon phenotypic markers by MSCs similar to findings with insulin supplemented media, indicating preservation of insulin bioactivity. Insulin functionalized scaffolds may have potential applications in tendon healing and regeneration.
Summary Background Accelerating orthodontic tooth movement (OTM) through biologically effective methods, such as increasing osteoclast-mediated alveolar resorption, could effectively shorten treatment time. Objective To evaluate an injectable formulation containing receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANKL) on the OTM. Materials and methods We fabricated a RANKL formulation from 100 µl of 100 µg/ml RANKL adsorbed on 10 mg of poly(lactic acid-co-glycolic acid) microspheres embedded in a 10 wt% aqueous hydroxyethyl cellulose carrier gel. We characterized these formulations for the rate of RANKL release, and then tested for bioactivity using in vitro cell culture. In vivo OTM studies were conducted using 15 week old male Wistar rats for 14 days. We injected the RANKL formulations palatal to the left maxillary first molar and accomplished OTM with a nickel–titanium (NiTi) coil spring applying 5–8 g force. Control groups involved the application of NiTi coil spring with and without placebo formulation. The outcome measure included the distance of tooth movement, bone volume fraction, tissue density, and root volume determined with micro-computed tomography. We determined the amount of osteoclast activity using tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) staining. Results These formulations were able to sustain the release of RANKL for more than 30 days, and the released RANKL showed a positive effect on mice osteoclast precursor cells (RAW 264.7). Reported injectable RANKL formulations were effective in accelerating OTM compared with other control groups, with 129.2 per cent more tooth movement than no formulation and 71.8 per cent more than placebo formulation, corresponding with a significant increase in the amount of TRAP activity. We did not observe any significant differences in root resorption between the groups. Conclusion Our study shows a significant increase in OTM with injectable formulations containing RANKL.
This Article reports the fabrication and characterization of composite micro-nanostructured spiral scaffolds functionalized with nanofibers and hydroxyapatite (HA) for bone regeneration. The spiral poly(lactic acid-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) porous microstructure was coated with sparsely spaced PLGA nanofibers and HA to enhance surface area and bioactivity. Polyelectrolyte-based HA coating in a layer-by-layer (LBL) fashion allowed 10–70 μM Ca2+/mm2 incorporation. These scaffolds provided a controlled release of Ca2+ ions up to 60 days with varied release kinetics accounting up to 10–50 μg. Spiral scaffolds supported superior adhesion, proliferation, and osteogenic differentiation of rat bone marrow stromal cells (MSCs) as compared to controls microstructures. Spiral micro-nanostructures supported homogeneous tissue ingrowth and resulted in bone-island formation in the center of the scaffold as early as 3 weeks in a rabbit ulnar bone defect model. In contrast, control cylindrical scaffolds showed tissue ingrowth only at the surface because of limitations in scaffold transport features.
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