PLGA-Mesoporous Silicon Microspheres for the in Vivo Controlled Temporospatial Delivery of Proteins

Silvia Minardi, Laura Pandolfi, Francesca Taraballi, Enrica De Rosa, Iman K. Yazdi, Xeuwu Liu, Mauro Ferrari, Ennio Tasciotti*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


In regenerative medicine, the temporospatially controlled delivery of growth factors (GFs) is crucial to trigger the desired healing mechanisms in the target tissues. The uncontrolled release of GFs has been demonstrated to cause severe side effects in the surrounding tissues. The aim of this study was to optimize a translational approach for the fine temporal and spatial control over the release of proteins, in vivo. Hence, we proposed a newly developed multiscale composite microsphere based on a core consisting of the nanostructured silicon multistage vector (MSV) and a poly(dl-lactide-co-glycolide) acid (PLGA) outer shell. Both of the two components of the resulting composite microspheres (PLGA-MSV) can be independently tailored to achieve multiple release kinetics contributing to the control of the release profile of a reporter protein in vitro. The influence of MSV shape (hemispherical or discoidal) and size (1, 3, or 7 μm) on PLGA-MSV's morphology and size distribution was investigated. Second, the copolymer ratio of the PLGA used to fabricate the outer shell of PLGA-MSV was varied. The composites were fully characterized by optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, ζ potential, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and thermogravimetric analysis-differential scanning calorimetry, and their release kinetics over 30 days. PLGA-MSV's biocompatibility was assessed in vitro with J774 macrophages. Finally, the formulation of PLGA-MSV was selected, which concurrently provided the most consistent microsphere size and allowed for a zero-order release kinetic. The selected PLGA-MSVs were injected in a subcutaneous model in mice, and the in vivo release of the reporter protein was followed over 2 weeks by intravital microscopy, to assess if the zero-order release was preserved. PLGA-MSV was able to retain the payload over 2 weeks, avoiding the initial burst release typical of most drug delivery systems. Finally, histological evaluation assessed the biocompatibility of the platform in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16364-16373
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number30
StatePublished - Aug 5 2015


  • PLGA
  • drug delivery
  • microsphere
  • silicon
  • tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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