Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
pharmaceutics-12-00513-v2 (1).pdf (4.1 MB)

Development of a sustained release nano-in-gel delivery system for the chemotactic and angiogenic growth factor stromal-derived factor 1α

Download (4.1 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2021-02-08, 11:09 authored by Joanne O'Dwyer, Megan Cullen, Sarinj FattahSarinj Fattah, Robert MurphyRobert Murphy, Smiljana Stefanovic, Lenka Kovarova, Martin Pravda, Vladimir Velebny, Andreas HeiseAndreas Heise, Garry DuffyGarry Duffy, Sally-Ann CryanSally-Ann Cryan
Stromal-Derived Factor 1α (SDF) is an angiogenic, chemotactic protein with significant potential for applications in a range of clinical areas, including wound healing, myocardial infarction and orthopaedic regenerative approaches. The 26-min in vivo half-life of SDF, however, has limited its clinical translation to date. In this study, we investigate the use of star-shaped or linear poly(glutamic acid) (PGA) polypeptides to produce PGA–SDF nanoparticles, which can be incorporated into a tyramine-modified hyaluronic acid hydrogel (HA–TA) to facilitate sustained localised delivery of SDF. The physicochemical properties and biocompatibility of the PGA–SDF nanoparticle formulations were extensively characterised prior to incorporation into a HA–TA hydrogel. The biological activity of the SDF released from the nano-in-gel system was determined on Matrigel®, scratch and Transwell® migration assays. Both star-shaped and linear PGA facilitated SDF nanoparticle formation with particle sizes from 255–305 nm and almost complete SDF complexation. Star-PGA–SDF demonstrated superior biocompatibility and was incorporated into a HA–TA gel, which facilitated sustained SDF release for up to 35 days in vitro. Released SDF significantly improved gap closure on a scratch assay, produced a 2.8-fold increase in HUVEC Transwell® migration and a 1.5-fold increase in total tubule length on a Matrigel® assay at 12 h compared to untreated cells. Overall, we present a novel platform system for the sustained delivery of bioactive SDF from a nano-in-gel system which could be adapted for a range of biomedical applications.


Science Foundation Ireland Investigator Award (IvP) grant number 13/IA/1840

AMCARE consortium, a European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013), grant agreement number 604531

Health Research Board Summer Studentship grant

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM)

European Regional Development Fund (Grant 13/RC/2073).


Data Availability Statement

Supplementary material is available at:


The original article is available at

Published Citation

O'Dwyer J, Cullen M, Fattah S, Murphy R, Stefanovic S, Kovarova L, Pravda M, Velebny V, Heise A, Duffy GP, Cryan SA. Development of a sustained release nano-in-gel delivery system for the chemotactic and angiogenic growth factor stromal-derived factor 1α. Pharmaceutics.2020;12(6):513.

Publication Date

4 Jun 2020

PubMed ID



  • School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences
  • RCSI Tissue Engineering Group (TERG)
  • Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine
  • Chemistry
  • Amber (Advanced Material & Bioengineering Research) Centre
  • Cu00daRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices

Research Area

  • Respiratory Medicine
  • Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine




  • Published Version (Version of Record)