Heparin-guided binding of vascular endothelial growth factor to supramolecular biomaterial surfaces

Moniek G. J. Schmitz, Dina M. Ibrahim, Paul A. A. Bartels, Simone A. E. Twisk, Anthal I. P. M. Smits, Carlijn V. C. Bouten, Patricia Y. W. Dankers

Published: 2023


Growth factors can steer the biological response to a biomaterial post implantation. Heparin is a growth factor binding molecule that can coordinate growth factor presentation to cells and therefore is able to regulate many biological processes. One way to functionalize biomaterials with heparin and growth factors is via a supramolecular approach. Here, we show a proof-of-concept study in which a supramolecular approach based on ureido-pyrimidinone (UPy) was used, which allows for modular functionalization. PCLdiUPy was functionalized with a UPy-modified heparin binding peptide (UPy-HBP) to facilitates binding of heparin, which in turn can bind vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) via its heparin binding domain. The adsorption of both heparin and VEGF were studied in two different functionalization approaches (pre-complex and two-step) and at different molecular ratios. Quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation energy adsorption data showed that VEGF and pre-complexed heparin:VEGF adsorbed non-specifically, with no distinguish between non-specific adsorption and heparin guided-adsorption. On the biological side, heparin guided-adsorption of Heparin:VEGF enhanced HUVECs surface coverage as compared to non-specific adsorption. These results provide a detailed insight on the molecular sandwich which is useful for new design strategies of supramolecular biomaterials with well-controlled immobilization of different growth factors.

Full Access Link: Journal of Polymer Science