Development of nano- and microscale chondroitin sulfate particles for controlled growth factor delivery

Acta Biomater. 2011 Mar;7(3):986-95. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2010.10.009. Epub 2010 Oct 20.


Size scale plays an important role in the release properties and cellular presentation of drug delivery vehicles. Because negatively charged chondroitin sulfate (CS) is capable of electrostatically sequestering positively charged growth factors, CS-derived nanoscale micelles and microscale spheroids were synthesized as potential growth factor carriers to enhance differentiation of stem cells. Particles were characterized for morphology, size distribution, surface charge and cytocompatibility, as well as release of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). CS micelles were spherical and negatively charged with a bimodal distribution of 324.1±8.5 and 73.2±4.4 nm diameters, and CS microspheres possessed a rounded morphology and a diameter of 4.3±0.93 μm. Positively charged TGF-β1 demonstrated minimal release after loading in CS microspheres, while negatively charged TNF-α exhibited substantial release over the first 15 h, suggesting that TGF-β1 electrostatically complexed with CS. The micelles and microparticles were found to be cytocompatible at moderate concentrations with marrow stromal cell monolayers and within embryonic stem cell embryoid bodies. These synthesis techniques, which allow the formation of CS-based carriers over a variety of nano- and microscale sizes, offer versatility for tailored release of positively charged growth factors and controlled CS presentation for a variety of stem cell-based applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chondroitin Sulfates / chemistry*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Mice
  • Micelles
  • Microspheres*
  • Nanoparticles*
  • Static Electricity


  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Micelles
  • Chondroitin Sulfates