l-DOPA as a small molecule surrogate to promote angiogenesis and prevent dexamethasone-induced ischemia

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Abstract

The foreign body response to implantable biosensors has been successfully countered through the use of corticosteroids, such as dexamethasone. However, while controlling inflammation, dexamethasone also decreases angiogenesis, which may lead to delayed analyte readings. The concurrent application of VEGF with dexamethasone increases angiogenesis, but VEGF has physical stability issues and is not cost-effective. The use of l-DOPA, a small molecule drug shown to up-regulate VEGF in the Parkinsonian brain, can potentially resolve these issues by substituting for VEGF. In this work, l-DOPA was used for the first time as a pro-angiogenic agent to counteract dexamethasone-induced ischemia. Angiogenesis was modeled using the CAM assay and changes in blood vessel formation were recorded with both manual and digital techniques. As expected, dexamethasone reduced blood vessel formation in the CAM. Application of l-DOPA, on the other hand, increased blood vessel formation when dexamethasone and l-DOPA were administered simultaneously. This novel finding suggests the utility of l-DOPA in the field of implantable medical devices, such as biosensors, as well as tissue engineering applications where both a vascularized tissue environment and control of tissue response is desired.

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