Recently, surface engineered biomaterials through surface modification are extensively investigated due to its potential to enhance cellular homing and migration which contributes to a successful drug delivery process. This study is focused on osteoblasts response towards surface engineered using a simple sodium hydroxide (NaOH) hydrolysis and growth factors conjugated poly(lactic acid) (PLA) microspheres. In this study, evaluation of the relationship of NaOH concentration with the molecular weight changes and surface morphology of PLA microspheres specifically wall thickness and porosity prior to in vitro studies was investigated. NaOH hydrolysis of 0.1 M, 0.3 M and 0.5 M were done to introduce hydrophilicity on the PLA prior to conjugation with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and epidermal growth factor (EGF). Morphology changes showed that higher concentration of NaOH could accelerate the hydrolysis process as the highest wall thickness was observed at 0.5 M NaOH with ~3.52 µm. All surface modified and growth factors conjugated PLA microspheres wells enhanced the migration of the cells during wound healing process as wound closure was 100% after 3 days of treatment. Increase in hydrophilicity of the surface engineered and growth factors conjugated PLA microspheres provides favorable surface for cellular attachment of osteoblast, which was reflected by positive DAPI staining of the cells' nucleus. Surface modified and growth factors conjugated PLA microspheres were also able to enhance the capability of the PLA in facilitating the differentiation process of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into osteogenic lineage since only positive stain was observed on surface engineered and growth factors conjugated PLA microspheres. These results indicated that the surface engineered and growth factors conjugated PLA microspheres were non-toxic for biological environments and the improved hydrophilicity made them a potential candidate as a drug delivery vehicle as the cells can adhere, attach and proliferate inside it.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.