Therapeutic growth factor delivery typically requires supraphysiological dosages, which can cause undesirable off-target effects. The aim of this study was to 3D bioprint implants containing spatiotemporally defined patterns of growth factors optimized for coupled angiogenesis and osteogenesis. Using nanoparticle functionalized bioinks, it was possible to print implants with distinct growth factor patterns and release profiles spanning from days to weeks. The extent of angiogenesis in vivo depended on the spatial presentation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Higher levels of vessel invasion were observed in implants containing a spatial gradient of VEGF compared to those homogenously loaded with the same total amount of protein. Printed implants containing a gradient of VEGF, coupled with spatially defined BMP-2 localization and release kinetics, accelerated large bone defect healing with little heterotopic bone formation. This demonstrates the potential of growth factor printing, a putative point of care therapy, for tightly controlled tissue regeneration.
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