The use of progenitor cell/biodegradable MMP2-PLGA polymer constructs to enhance cellular integration and retinal repopulation

Biomaterials. 2010 Jan;31(1):9-19. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2009.09.015. Epub 2009 Sep 22.


The inability of the adult mammalian retina to regenerate can be partly attributed to the expression of injury-induced inhibitory extracellular matrix (ECM) and cell adhesion molecules. In particular, photoreceptor degeneration stimulates deposition of the inhibitory ECM proteins neurocan and CD44 at the outer limits of the dystrophic retina, where they act as a barrier against cellular migration and axonal extension. We have previously shown that degradation of these molecules, via induction of MMP2, promotes host-donor integration and retinal repopulation following transplantation. Here we present a biodegradable/biocompatible polymer scaffold that has the ability to deliver MMP2, in conjunction with retinal progenitor cells, directly to the site of retinal injury in an attempt to enhance cellular integration and promote retinal repopulation. Pre-activated MMP2, loaded into a PLGA polymer, maintained its activity throughout polymer fabrication and hydrolysis. Following delivery, significant degradation of CD44 and neurocan from the outer limits of the dystrophic retina, without further disruption of retinal architecture, was observed. As a result, the number of retinal progenitor cells that migrated beyond the glial barrier into the degenerating host increased significantly. These cells took up residence in the retinal outer nuclear layer, adopted appropriate photoreceptor morphology and expressed the mature photoreceptor markers recoverin and rhodopsin. Thus, we have created a cell delivery platform that upon transplantation provides controlled release of active-MMP2 directly to the site of retinal injury, stimulating inhibitory ECM barrier removal and enhancement of stem cell integration and retinal repopulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Polyglycolic Acid / metabolism*
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / metabolism*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*


  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Polyglycolic Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2