Development of a Polyethylene Glycol Hydrogel Delivery System for Interleukin-10
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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease where the patient’s own immune system attacks the myelin cover of his nerves, causing communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body. Currently there is no cure for MS, however treatments can slow down the progression of MS by reducing the frequency and severity of attacks and the development of new brain lesions. Dr. Babensee’s lab aims to relive effects and symptoms of MS by utilizing interleukin-10 (IL-10), an anti-inflammatory cytokine to induce immunosuppressive tolerogenic dendritic cells (DCs). The purpose of this study is to design a delivery system of IL-10 with high loading efficiency and allows for adjustable release profile. Ovalbumin (OVA), a main protein found in egg white, was chosen as a less costly model for IL-10 for this project due to its similar physical and chemical properties to IL-10. Early stages of this study focused on creating an OVA incorporated 4-arm polyethylene glycol maleimide (PEG-4MAL) by chemically attaching OVA to the molecule’s maleimide group. A variety of molar ratios of PEG-4MAL and OVA were examined to determine the ratio that provides the highest loading efficiency. Results have shown that a 3:1 molar ratio of PEG-4MAL and OVA offers the highest loading efficiency. Later stages of the study focused on designing a IL-10 attached PEG-4MAL microgel, which allows for more control over the release profile of IL-10. The microgels are created using a microfluidic device with flow-focusing geometry in the Garcia Lab at Georgia Tech. The anticipated outcome of this project is to create a IL-10 incorporated microgel system that allows for less invasion, more targeted release of IL-10 and more control over the release profile of IL-10 to provide an immunosuppressive environment for DCs. This microgel system can act as a potential treatment for MS.