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Efficient and controlled gene delivery from biodegradable materials can be employed to stimulate cellular processes that lead to tissue regeneration. In this report, a substrate-mediated approach was developed to deliver DNA from hyaluronic acid-collagen hydrogels. The hydrogels were formed by crosslinking HA with poly(ethylene glycol) diglycidyl ether. Poly(ethylene imine)(PEI)/DNA complexes were immobilized to the substrate using either biotin/neutravidin or non-specific adsorption. Complexes were formed in the presence or absence of salt to regulate complex size, and resulted in complexes with z-average diameters of 1221.7 +/- 152.3 and 139.4 +/- 1.3 nm, respectively. During 48-h incubation in PBS or hyaluronidase, DNA was released slowly from the hydrogel substrate (<30% of immobilized DNA), which was enhanced by incubation with conditioned media (approximately 50% of immobilized DNA). Transgene expression mediated by immobilized, large diameter complexes was 3 to 7-fold greater than for small diameter complexes. However, the percentage of cells expressing the transgene was greater for small diameter complexes (48.7%) than for large diameter complexes (22.3%). Spatially controlled gene transfer was achieved by topographically patterning the hydrogel to pattern cell adhesion. Biomaterial-based gene delivery can be applicable to numerous tissue engineering applications, or as a tool to examine tissue formation.

Tatiana Segura, Peter H Chung, Lonnie D Shea

Segura, T; Chung, PH; Shea, LD