The present investigation evaluates the effects of long-term, local delivery of insulin, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) on fat-graft survival using a poly (lactic- co-glycolic-acid)-polyethylene glycol (PLGA/PEG) microsphere delivery system. Twelve-micrometer PLGA/PEG microspheres incorporated separately with insulin, IGF-1, and bFGF were manufactured using a double-emulsion solvent-extraction technique. Inguinal fat from Sprague Dawley rats was harvested, diced, washed, and mixed with (1) insulin microspheres, (2) insulin-like growth factor-1 microspheres, (3) basic fibroblast growth factor microspheres, (4) a combination of the insulin and IGF-1 microspheres, and (5) a combination of insulin, IGF-1, and bFGF microspheres. The treated fat grafts were implanted autologously into subdermal pockets in six animals for each group. Animals receiving untreated fat grafts and fat grafts treated with blank microspheres constituted two external control groups (six animals per external control group). At 12 weeks, all fat-graft groups were compared on the basis of weight maintenance and a histomorphometric analysis of adipocyte area percentage, indices of volume retention and cell composition, respectively. Weight maintenance was defined as the final graft weight as a percent of the implanted graft weight. All growth factor treatments significantly increased fat-graft weight maintenance objectively, and volume maintenance grossly, in comparison with the untreated and blank microsphere-treated controls. Treatment with insulin and IGF-1, alone or in combination, was found to increase the adipocyte area percentage in comparison with fat grafts treated with bFGF alone or in combination with other growth factors. In conclusion, the findings of this study indicate that long-term, local delivery of growth factors with PLGA/PEG microspheres has the potential to increase fat-graft survival rates. Further, the type of growth factor delivered may influence the cellular/stromal composition of the grafted tissue.
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