Pharmacologically active microcarriers delivering BDNF within a hydrogel: Novel strategy for human bone marrow-derived stem cells neural/neuronal differentiation guidance and therapeutic secretome enhancement

Saikrishna Kandalam, Laurence Sindji, Gaëtan J.R. Delcroix, Fabien Violet, Xavier Garric, Emilie M. André, Paul C. Schiller, Marie Claire Venier-Julienne, Anne des Rieux, Jérôme Guicheux, Claudia N. Montero-Menei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Stem cells combined with biodegradable injectable scaffolds releasing growth factors hold great promises in regenerative medicine, particularly in the treatment of neurological disorders. We here integrated human marrow-isolated adult multilineage-inducible (MIAMI) stem cells and pharmacologically active microcarriers (PAMs) into an injectable non-toxic silanized-hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (Si-HPMC) hydrogel. The goal is to obtain an injectable non-toxic cell and growth factor delivery device. It should direct the survival and/or neuronal differentiation of the grafted cells, to safely transplant them in the central nervous system, and enhance their tissue repair properties. A model protein was used to optimize the nanoprecipitation conditions of the neuroprotective brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF nanoprecipitate was encapsulated in fibronectin-coated (FN) PAMs and the in vitro release profile evaluated. It showed a prolonged, bi-phasic, release of bioactive BDNF, without burst effect. We demonstrated that PAMs and the Si-HPMC hydrogel increased the expression of neural/neuronal differentiation markers of MIAMI cells after 1 week. Moreover, the 3D environment (PAMs or hydrogel) increased MIAMI cells secretion of growth factors (b-NGF, SCF, HGF, LIF, PlGF-1, SDF-1α, VEGF-A & D) and chemokines (MIP-1α & β, RANTES, IL-8). These results show that PAMs delivering BDNF combined with Si-HPMC hydrogel represent a useful novel local delivery tool in the context of neurological disorders. It not only provides neuroprotective BDNF but also bone marrow-derived stem cells that benefit from that environment by displaying neural commitment and an improved neuroprotective/reparative secretome. It provides preliminary evidence of a promising pro-angiogenic, neuroprotective and axonal growth-promoting device for the nervous system. Statement of Significance Combinatorial tissue engineering strategies for the central nervous system are scarce. We developed and characterized a novel injectable non-toxic stem cell and protein delivery system providing regenerative cues for central nervous system disorders. BDNF, a neurotrophic factor with a wide-range effect, was nanoprecipitated to maintain its structure and released in a sustained manner from novel polymeric microcarriers. The combinatorial 3D support, provided by fibronectin-microcarriers and the hydrogel, to the mesenchymal stem cells guided the cells towards a neuronal differentiation and enhanced their tissue repair properties by promoting growth factors and cytokine secretion. The long-term release of physiological doses of bioactive BDNF, combined to the enhanced secretion of tissue repair factors from the stem cells, constitute a promising therapeutic approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-180
Number of pages14
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • BDNF drug delivery
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Microspheres
  • Neural repair
  • Si-HPMC hydrogel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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