Chondroitin Sulfate Glycosaminoglycan Hydrogels Create Endogenous Niches for Neural Stem Cells.
Neural stem cells (NSCs) possess great potential for neural tissue repair after traumatic injuries to the central nervous system (CNS). However, poor survival and self-renewal of NSCs after injury severely limits its therapeutic potential. Sulfated chondroitin sulfate glycosaminoglycans (CS-GAGs) linked to CS proteoglycans (CSPGs) in the brain extracellular matrix (ECM) have the ability to bind and potentiate trophic factor efficacy, and promote NSC self-renewal in vivo. In this study, we investigated the potential of CS-GAG hydrogels composed of monosulfated CS-4 (CS-A), CS-6 (CS-C), and disulfated CS-4,6 (CS-E) CS-GAGs as NSC carriers, and their ability to create endogenous niches by enriching specific trophic factors to support NSC self-renewal. We demonstrate that CS-GAG hydrogel scaffolds showed minimal swelling and degradation over a period of 15 days in vitro, absorbing only 6.5 ± 0.019% of their initial weight, and showing no significant loss of mass during this period. Trophic factors FGF-2, BDNF, and IL10 bound with high affinity to CS-GAGs, and were significantly (p < 0.05) enriched in CS-GAG hydrogels when compared to unsulfated hyaluronic acid (HA) hydrogels. Dissociated rat subventricular zone (SVZ) NSCs when encapsulated in CS-GAG hydrogels demonstrated ∼88.5 ± 6.1% cell viability in vitro. Finally, rat neurospheres in CS-GAG hydrogels conditioned with the mitogen FGF-2 demonstrated significantly (p < 0.05) higher self-renewal when compared to neurospheres cultured in unconditioned hydrogels. Taken together, these findings demonstrate the ability of CS-GAG based hydrogels to regulate NSC self-renewal, and facilitate growth factor enrichment locally.
Karumbaiah, L; Enam, SF; Brown, AC; Saxena, T; Betancur, MI; Barker, TH; Bellamkonda, RV
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