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Growth factors (GF) are critical cytokines in wound healing. However, the direct delivery of these biochemical cues into a wound site significantly increases the cost of wound dressings and can lead to a strong immunological response due to the introduction of a foreign source of GFs. To overcome this challenge, we designed a poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) hydrogel with the potential capacity to sequester autologous GFs directly from the wound site. We demonstrated that synthetic peptide sequences covalently tethered to PEGDA hydrogels physically retained human transforming growth factor beta 1 (hTGFβ1) and human vascular endothelial growth factor (hVEGF) at 3.2 and 0.6 ng/mm2, respectively. In addition, we demonstrated that retained hTGFβ1 and hVEGF enhanced human dermal fibroblasts (HDFa) average cell surface area and proliferation, respectively, and that exposure to both GFs resulted in up to 1.9-fold higher fraction of area covered relative to the control. After five days in culture, relative to the control surface, non-covalently bound hTGFβ1 significantly increased the expression of collagen type I and hTGFβ1 and downregulated vimentin and matrix metalloproteinase 1 expression. Cumulatively, the response of HDFa to hTGFβ1 aligns well with the expected response of fibroblasts during the early stages of wound healing.





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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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