Molecularly Engineering Soft and Connective Tissue Using Biomimetic Proteoglycans
Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Drexel University
We have designed, synthesized and characterized biomimetic proteoglycans which mimic the three-dimensional bottle brush architecture of natural proteoglycans using a hybrid natural/synthetic polymer approach composed of natural glycosaminoglycan (chondroitin sulfate, CS) bristles attached end-on to a synthetic polymer core (poly(acrylic acid)). We have made a family of biomimetic proteoglycans of varying sizes from mimicking decorin to aggrecan in size and bristle density (aggrecan-like or versican-like, for example). Using biomimetic proteoglycans, we have molecularly engineered tissues which have been depleted of the mechanical and hydration physical properties through loss of proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans including cartilage and the urethra ex vivo and in vivo. The molecules have additional potential in tissue engineering and drug delivery in addition to the mechanical and hydrating effects.