Programming stem cells for therapeutic angiogenesis using biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles

J Vis Exp. 2013 Sep 27:(79):e50736. doi: 10.3791/50736.


Controlled vascular growth is critical for successful tissue regeneration and wound healing, as well as for treating ischemic diseases such as stroke, heart attack or peripheral arterial diseases. Direct delivery of angiogenic growth factors has the potential to stimulate new blood vessel growth, but is often associated with limitations such as lack of targeting and short half-life in vivo. Gene therapy offers an alternative approach by delivering genes encoding angiogenic factors, but often requires using virus, and is limited by safety concerns. Here we describe a recently developed strategy for stimulating vascular growth by programming stem cells to overexpress angiogenic factors in situ using biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles. Specifically our strategy utilized stem cells as delivery vehicles by taking advantage of their ability to migrate toward ischemic tissues in vivo. Using the optimized polymeric vectors, adipose-derived stem cells were modified to overexpress an angiogenic gene encoding vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). We described the processes for polymer synthesis, nanoparticle formation, transfecting stem cells in vitro, as well as methods for validating the efficacy of VEGF-expressing stem cells for promoting angiogenesis in a murine hindlimb ischemia model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hindlimb / blood supply*
  • Ischemia / therapy*
  • Luminescent Measurements / methods
  • Nanoparticles / administration & dosage
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / physiology*
  • Polymers / administration & dosage
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Transfection / methods*


  • Polymers
  • poly(beta-amino ester)