Blood-derived growth factor preparations have long been employed to improve perfusion and aid tissue repair. Among these, platelet-rich plasma (PRP)-based therapies have seen the widest application, albeit with mixed clinical results to date. Hypoxia-preconditioned blood products present an alternative to PRP, by comprising the complete wound healing factor-cascade, i.e., hypoxia-induced peripheral blood cell signaling, in addition to platelet-derived factors. This study set out to characterize the preparation of hypoxia preconditioned serum (HPS), and assess the utility of HPS-fibrin hydrogels as vehicles for controlled factor delivery. Our findings demonstrate the positive influence of hypoxic incubation on HPS angiogenic potential, and the individual variability of HPS angiogenic factor concentration. HPS-fibrin hydrogels can rapidly retain HPS factor proteins and gradually release them over time, while both functions appear to depend on the fibrin matrix mass. This offers a means of controlling factor retention/release, through adjustment of HPS fibrinogen concentration, thus allowing modulation of cellular angiogenic responses in a growth factor dose-dependent manner. This study provides the first evidence that HPS-fibrin hydrogels could constitute a new generation of autologous/bioactive injectable compositions that provide biochemical and biomaterial signals analogous to those mediating physiological wound healing. This therefore establishes a rational foundation for their application towards biomimetic tissue regeneration.
Keywords: angiogenesis; fibrin matrix; growth factor; hypoxia; injectable hydrogel; peripheral blood cells; tissue regeneration.