Stimulation of endogenous neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) with therapeutic factors holds potential for the treatment of stroke. Cyclosporin A (CsA) is a particularly promising candidate molecule because it has been shown to act as a survival factor for these cells over a period of weeks both in vitro and in vivo; however, systemically-delivered CsA compromises the entire immune system, necessitating sustained localized delivery. Herein we describe a local delivery strategy for CsA using an epi-cortical hydrogel of hyaluronan-methylcellulose (HAMC) as the drug reservoir. Three methods of incorporating the drug into the hydrogel (solubilized, particulate, and poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) microsphere-encapsulated) resulted in tunable release, spanning a period of hours to weeks. Importantly, PLGA-encapsulated CsA released from the hydrogel had equivalent bioactivity to fresh drug as measured by the neurosphere assay. Moreover, when CsA was released from the PLGA/HAMC composite that was injected on the cortex of adult mice, CsA was detected in the NSPC niche at a constant concentration for at least 24days post-implant. Thus this hydrogel composite system may be promising for the treatment of stroke.
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