Supramolecular nanostructures that mimic VEGF as a strategy for ischemic tissue repair

Matthew J. Webber, Jörn Tongers, Christina J. Newcomb, Katja Theres Marquardt, Johann Bauersachs, Douglas W. Losordo*, Samuel I. Stupp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

267 Scopus citations


There is great demand for the development of novel therapies for ischemic cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. We report here on the development of a completely synthetic cell-free therapy based on peptide amphiphile nanostructures designed to mimic the activity of VEGF, one of the most potent angiogenic signaling proteins. Following selfassembly of peptide amphiphiles, nanoscale filaments form that display on their surfaces a VEGF-mimetic peptide at high density. The VEGF-mimetic filaments were found to induce phosphorylation of VEGF receptors and promote proangiogenic behavior in endothelial cells, indicated by an enhancement in proliferation, survival, and migration in vitro. In a chicken embryo assay, these nanostructures elicited an angiogenic response in the host vasculature. When evaluated in a mouse hind-limb ischemia model, the nanofibers increased tissue perfusion, functional recovery, limb salvage, and treadmill endurance compared to controls, which included the VEGF-mimetic peptide alone. Immunohistological evidence also demonstrated an increase in the density of microcirculation in the ischemic hind limb, suggesting the mechanism of efficacy of this promising potential therapy is linked to the enhanced microcirculatory angiogenesis that results from treatment with these polyvalent VEGF-mimetic nanofibers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13438-13443
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 16 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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