Biofunctionalization of 3D printed collagen with bevacizumab-loaded microparticles targeting pathological angiogenesis

Anna Abbadessa, Paulina Nuñez Bernal, Giorgio Buttitta, Alfredo Ronca, Ugo D'Amora, Carla Zihlmann, Niklaus Stiefel, Luigi Ambrosio, Jos Malda, Riccardo Levato, José Crecente-Campo, María José Alonso

Published: August 2023

Pathological angiogenesis is a crucial attribute of several chronic diseases such as cancer, age-related macular degeneration, and osteoarthritis (OA). In the case of OA, pathological angiogenesis mediated by the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), among other factors, contributes to cartilage degeneration and to implants rejection. In line with this, the use of the anti-VEGF bevacizumab (BVZ) has been shown to prevent OA progression and support cartilage regeneration. The aim of this work was to functionalize a medical grade collagen with poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microparticles containing BVZ via three-dimensional (3D) printing to target pathological angiogenesis. First, the effect of several formulation parameters on the encapsulation and release of BVZ from PLGA microparticles was studied. Then, the anti-angiogenic activity of released BVZ was tested in a 3D cell model. The 3D printability of the microparticle-loaded collagen ink was tested by evaluating the shape fidelity of 3D printed structures. Results showed that the release and the encapsulation efficiency of BVZ could be tuned as a function of several formulation parameters. In addition, the released BVZ was observed to reduce vascularization by human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Finally, the collagen ink with embedded BVZ microparticles was successfully printed, leading to shape-stable meniscus-, nose- and auricle-like structures. Taken altogether, we defined the conditions for the successful combination of BVZ-loaded microparticles with the 3D printing of a medical grade collagen to target pathological angiogenesis.

Full Access Link: Journal of Controlled Release