Delivery of VEGFA in bone marrow stromal cells seeded in copolymer scaffold enhances angiogenesis, but is inadequate for osteogenesis as compared with the dual delivery of VEGFA and BMP2 in a subcutaneous mouse model
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: In bone tissue engineering (BTE), extensive research into vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA)-mediated angiogenesis has yielded inconsistent results. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence on angio- and osteogenesis of adenoviral-mediated delivery of VEGFA alone or in combination with bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) in bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC) seeded onto a recently developed poly(LLA-co-CL) scaffold. Methods: Human BMSC were engineered to express VEGFA alone or in combination with BMP2 and seeded onto poly(LLA-co-CL) scaffolds. Changes in angiogenic and osteogenic gene and protein levels were examined by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), PCR array, and alkaline phosphatase assay. An in vivo subcutaneous mouse model was used to investigate the effect on angio- and osteogenesis of VEGFA alone or in combination with BMP2, using microcomputed tomography (μCT), histology, immunohistochemistry, and immunofluorescence. Results: Combined delivery of a lower ratio (1:3) of VEGFA and BMP2 (ad-BMP2 + VEGFA) led to upregulation of osteogenic and angiogenic genes in vitro at 3 and 14 days, compared with mono-delivery of VEGFA (ad-VEGFA) and other controls. In vivo, in a subcutaneous mouse model, both ad-VEGFA and ad-BMP2 + VEGFA scaffold explants exhibited increased angiogenesis at 2 weeks. Enhanced angiogenesis was largely related to the recruitment and differentiation of mouse progenitor cells to the endothelial lineage and, to a lesser extent, to endothelial differentiation of the implanted BMSC. μCT and histological analyses revealed enhanced de novo bone formation only in the ad-BMP2 + VEGFA group, corresponding at the molecular level to the upregulation of genes related to osteogenesis, such as ALPL, RUNX2, and SPP1. Conclusions: Although BMSC expressing VEGFA alone or in combination with BMP2 significantly induced angiogenesis, VEGFA alone failed to demonstrate osteogenic activity both in vitro and in vivo. These results not only call into question the use of VEGFA alone in bone regeneration, but also highlight the importance in BTE of appropriately formulated combined delivery of VEGFA and BMP2.