Although regarded as a promising treatment for type 1 diabetes, clinical islet transplantation in the portal vein is still hindered by a low transplantation outcome. Alternative transplantation sites have been proposed, but the survival of extra-hepatically transplanted islets of Langerhans critically depends on quick revascularization after engraftment. This study aims at developing a new 3D scaffold platform that can actively boost vascularization and may find an application for extra-hepatic islet transplantation. The construct consists of a 3D ring-shaped polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffold with heparinized surface to electrostatically bind vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), surrounding a hydrogel core for islets encapsulation. Heparin immobilization improves the amount of VEGF retained by the construct, up to 3.6 fold, compared to untreated PCL scaffolds. In a chicken chorioallanthoic membrane model, VEGF immobilized on the construct enhances angiogenesis in close proximity and on the surface of the scaffolds. After 7 days, islets encapsulated in the alginate core show functional response to glucose stimuli comparable to free-floating islets. Thus, the developed platform has the potential to support rapid vascularization and islet endocrine function.
- 22/4 OA procedure