Increased vascularization promotes functional recovery in the transected spinal cord rats by implanted vascular endothelial growth factor-targeting collagen scaffold


Lingjun Wang, Qin Shi, Jianwu Dai, Yong Gu, Yu Feng, Liang Chen


Spinal cord injury (SCI) is global health concern. The effective strategies for SCI are relevant to the improvement on nerve regeneration microenvironment. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an important cytokine for inducing angiogenesis and accelerating nerve system function recovery from injury. We proposed that VEGF could improve nerve regeneration in SCI. However, an uncontrolled delivery system target to injury site not only decreases the therapeutic efficacy but also increases the risk of tumor information. We implanted collagen scaffold (CS) targeted with a constructed protein, collagen-binding VEGF (CBD-VEGF), to bridge transected spine cord gap in a rat transected SCI model. Functional and histological examinations were conducted to assess the repair capacity of the delivery system CS/CBD-VEGF. The results indicated that the implantation of CS/CBD-VEGF into the model rats improved the survival rate and exerted beneficial effect on functional recovery. The controlled intervention improved the microenvironment, guided axon growth, and promoted neovascularization at the injury site. Therefore, the delivery system with stable binding of VEGF potentially provides a better therapeutic option for SCI.