International journal of nanomedicine

Novel stable cytokine delivery system in physiological pH solution: chitosan oligosaccharide/heparin nanoparticles.

PMID 26056441


Cell therapy is a promising strategy for tissue regeneration. Key to this strategy is mobilization and recruitment of exogenous or autologous stem/progenitor cells by cytokines. However, there is no effective cytokine delivery system available for clinic application, in particular for myocardial regeneration. The aim of this study was to develop a novel cytokine delivery system that is stable in solution at physiological pH. Four groups of self-assembled chitosan oligosaccharide/heparin (CSO/H) nanoparticles were prepared with various volume ratios of chitosan oligosaccharide to heparin (5:2, 5:4, 4:15, 1:5) and characterized by laser diffraction, particle size analysis, and transmission electron microscopy. The encapsulation efficiency and loading content of two cytokines, ie, stromal cell-derived factor (SDF)-1α and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were quantified using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The biological activity of the loaded SDF-1α and VEGF was evaluated using the transwell migration assay and MTT assay. The dispersion profiles for the cytokine-loaded nanoparticles were quantified using fluorescence molecular tomography. CSO/H nanoparticles were prepared successfully in solution with physiological pH. The particle sizes in the four treatment groups were in the range of 96.2-210.5 nm and the zeta potential ranged from -29.4 mV to 24.2 mV. The loading efficiency in the CSO/H nanoparticle groups with the first three ratios was more than 90%. SDF-1α loaded into CSO/H nanoparticles retained its migration activity and VEGF loaded into CSO/H nanoparticles continued to show proliferation activity. The in vivo dispersion test showed that the CSO/H nanoparticles enabled to VEGF to accumulate locally for a longer period of time. CSO/H nanoparticles have a high cytokine loading capacity and allow cytokines to maintain their bioactivity for longer, are stable in an environment with physiological pH, and may be a promising cytokine delivery system for tissue regeneration.