Publications

2010
Borselli C, Storrie H, Benesch-Lee F, Shvartsman D, Cezar C, Lichtman JW, Vandenburgh HH, Mooney DJ. Functional muscle regeneration with combined delivery of angiogenesis and myogenesis factors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010;107 (8) :3287-92.Abstract
Regenerative efforts typically focus on the delivery of single factors, but it is likely that multiple factors regulating distinct aspects of the regenerative process (e.g., vascularization and stem cell activation) can be used in parallel to affect regeneration of functional tissues. This possibility was addressed in the context of ischemic muscle injury, which typically leads to necrosis and loss of tissue and function. The role of sustained delivery, via injectable gel, of a combination of VEGF to promote angiogenesis and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1) to directly promote muscle regeneration and the return of muscle function in ischemic rodent hindlimbs was investigated. Sustained VEGF delivery alone led to neoangiogenesis in ischemic limbs, with complete return of tissue perfusion to normal levels by 3 weeks, as well as protection from hypoxia and tissue necrosis, leading to an improvement in muscle contractility. Sustained IGF1 delivery alone was found to enhance muscle fiber regeneration and protected cells from apoptosis. However, the combined delivery of VEGF and IGF1 led to parallel angiogenesis, reinnervation, and myogenesis; as satellite cell activation and proliferation was stimulated, cells were protected from apoptosis, the inflammatory response was muted, and highly functional muscle tissue was formed. In contrast, bolus delivery of factors did not have any benefit in terms of neoangiogenesis and perfusion and had minimal effect on muscle regeneration. These results support the utility of simultaneously targeting distinct aspects of the regenerative process.
Huebsch N, Arany PR, Mao AS, Shvartsman D, Ali OA, Bencherif SA, Rivera-Feliciano J, Mooney DJ. Harnessing traction-mediated manipulation of the cell/matrix interface to control stem-cell fate. Nat Mater. 2010;9 (6) :518-26.Abstract
Stem cells sense and respond to the mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix. However, both the extent to which extracellular-matrix mechanics affect stem-cell fate in three-dimensional microenvironments and the underlying biophysical mechanisms are unclear. We demonstrate that the commitment of mesenchymal stem-cell populations changes in response to the rigidity of three-dimensional microenvironments, with osteogenesis occurring predominantly at 11-30 kPa. In contrast to previous two-dimensional work, however, cell fate was not correlated with morphology. Instead, matrix stiffness regulated integrin binding as well as reorganization of adhesion ligands on the nanoscale, both of which were traction dependent and correlated with osteogenic commitment of mesenchymal stem-cell populations. These findings suggest that cells interpret changes in the physical properties of adhesion substrates as changes in adhesion-ligand presentation, and that cells themselves can be harnessed as tools to mechanically process materials into structures that feed back to manipulate their fate.
Cao L, Arany PR, Kim J, Rivera-Feliciano J, Wang Y-S, He Z, Rask-Madsen C, King GL, Mooney DJ. Modulating Notch signaling to enhance neovascularization and reperfusion in diabetic mice. Biomaterials. 2010;31 (34) :9048-56.Abstract
Diabetes can diminish the responsiveness to angiogenic factors (e.g., VEGF) important for wound healing and the treatment of ischemic diseases, and this study investigated the hypothesis that this effect can be reversed by altering Notch signaling. Aortic endothelial cells (ECs) isolated from diabetic mice demonstrated reduced sprouting capability in vitro, but adding a Notch inhibitor (DAPT) led to cell-density and VEGF-dose dependent enhancement of proliferation, migration and sprouting, in both 2-D and 3-D cultures, as compared to VEGF alone. The in vivo effects of VEGF and DAPT were tested in the ischemic hind limbs of diabetic mice. Combining VEGF and DAPT delivery resulted in increased blood vessel density (∼150%) and improved tissue perfusion (∼160%), as compared to VEGF alone. To examine if DAPT would interfere with vessel maturation, DAPT was also delivered with a combination of VEGF and platelet derived growth factor (PDGF). DAPT and PDGF did not interfere with the effects of the other, and highly functional and mature networks of vessels could be formed with appropriate delivery. In summary, modulating Notch signaling enhances neovascularization and perfusion recovery in diabetic mice suffering from ischemia, suggesting this approach could have utility for human diabetics.
Hahn LD, Kong H, Mooney DJ. Polycation structure mediates expression of lyophilized polycation/pDNA complexes. Macromol Biosci. 2010;10 (10) :1210-5.Abstract
Lyophilization of polycation/pDNA complexes provides stable, long-term storage of complexes prior to clinical use but also reduces gene delivery efficiency. We examined whether polycation structure mediates effects of lyophilization on gene expression. Linear and branched PEI of the same molecular weight were used as a model system. Interestingly, pDNA/linear PEI complexes led to much smaller effects on gene expression following lyophilization compared with branched PEI complexes. The effect of polycation structure correlated with changes in dissociation ability of pDNA/PEI complexes. These results will be useful for developing new gene delivery vehicles.
Yuen WW, Du NR, Chan CH, Silva EA, Mooney DJ. Mimicking nature by codelivery of stimulant and inhibitor to create temporally stable and spatially restricted angiogenic zones. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010;107 (42) :17933-8.Abstract
Nature frequently utilizes opposing factors to create a stable activator gradient to robustly control pattern formation. This study employs a biomimicry approach, by delivery of both angiogenic and antiangiogenic factors from spatially restricted zones of a synthetic polymer to achieve temporally stable and spatially restricted angiogenic zones in vivo. The simultaneous release of the two spatially separated agents leads to a spatially sharp angiogenic region that is sustained over 3 wk. Further, the contradictory action of the two agents leads to a stable level of proangiogenic stimulation in this region, in spite of significant variations in the individual release rates over time. The resulting spatially restrictive and temporally sustained profiles of active signaling allow the creation of a spatially heterogeneous and functional vasculature.
2009
Orive G, De Castro M, Kong H-J, Hernández RMA, Ponce S, Mooney DJ, Pedraz JL. Bioactive cell-hydrogel microcapsules for cell-based drug delivery. J Control Release. 2009;135 (3) :203-10.Abstract
Improvement of long-term drug release and design of mechanically more stable encapsulation devices are still major challenges in the field of cell encapsulation. This may be in part due to the weak in vivo stability of calcium-alginate beads and to the use of inactive biomaterials and inert scaffolds that do not mimic the physiological situation of the normal cell milieu. We hypothesized that designing biomimetic cell-hydrogel capsules might promote the in vivo long-term functionality of the enclosed drug-secreting cells and improve the mechanical stability of the capsules. Biomimetic capsules were fabricated by coupling the adhesion peptide arginine glycine aspartic acid (RGD) to alginate polymer chains and by using an alginate-mixture providing a bimodal molecular weight distribution. The biomimetic capsules provide cell adhesion for the enclosed cells, potentially also leading to mechanical stabilization of the cell-polymer system. Strikingly, the novel cell-hydrogel system significantly prolonged the in vivo long-term functionality and drug release, providing a sustained erythropoietin delivery during 300 days without immunosuppressive protocols. Additionally, controlling the cell-dose within the biomimetic capsules enables a controlled in vitro and in vivo drug delivery. Biomimetic cell-hydrogel capsules provide a unique microenvironment for the in vivo long-term de novo delivery of drugs from immobilized cells.
Stern E, Mooney DJ, Fahmy TM. A biomimetic approach for the creation of two-dimensional microscale surface patterns: creation of isolated immunological synapses. Int J Biomater. 2009;2009 :821308.Abstract
Current efforts in surface functionalization have not produced a robust technique capable of creating specific two-dimensional microscale geometrical arrays composed of multiple proteins. Such a capability is desirable for engineering substrates in sensing and cell patterning applications where at least two different protein functionalities in a specific configuration are required. Here we introduce a new approach for the creation of arrays of microscale geometries. We demonstrate our approach with a biomimetic structure inspired by the immunological synapse, a cell-cell interfacial structure characterized by two concentric rings of proteins: an outer adhesion protein structure and an inner recognition ligand core. The power of the technique lies in its ability to pattern any protein in any defined geometry as well as to create arrays in parallel.
Discher DE, Mooney DJ, Zandstra PW. Growth factors, matrices, and forces combine and control stem cells. Science. 2009;324 (5935) :1673-7.Abstract
Stem cell fate is influenced by a number of factors and interactions that require robust control for safe and effective regeneration of functional tissue. Coordinated interactions with soluble factors, other cells, and extracellular matrices define a local biochemical and mechanical niche with complex and dynamic regulation that stem cells sense. Decellularized tissue matrices and synthetic polymer niches are being used in the clinic, and they are also beginning to clarify fundamental aspects of how stem cells contribute to homeostasis and repair, for example, at sites of fibrosis. Multifaceted technologies are increasingly required to produce and interrogate cells ex vivo, to build predictive models, and, ultimately, to enhance stem cell integration in vivo for therapeutic benefit.
Park H, Kang S-W, Kim B-S, Mooney DJ, Lee KY. Shear-reversibly crosslinked alginate hydrogels for tissue engineering. Macromol Biosci. 2009;9 (9) :895-901.Abstract
Injectable delivery vehicles in tissue engineering are often required for successful tissue formation in a minimally invasive manner. Shear-reversibly crosslinked hydrogels, which can recover gel structures from shear-induced breakdown, can be useful as an injectable, because gels can flow as a liquid when injected but re-gel once placed in the body. In this study, injectable and shear-reversible alginate hydrogels were prepared by combination crosslinking using cell-crosslinking and ionic crosslinking techniques. The addition of a small quantity of calcium ions decreased the number of cells that were required to form cell-crosslinked hydrogels without changing the shear reversibility of the system. The physical properties and gelation behavior of the gels were dependent on the concentration of both the cells and the calcium ions. We found that gels crosslinked by combination crosslinking methods were effective to engineer cartilage tissues in vivo. Using both ionic and cell-crosslinking methods to control the gelation behavior may allow the design of novel injectable systems that can be used to deliver cells and other therapeutics for minimally invasive therapy, including tissue engineering.
Stern E, Jay SM, Demento SL, Murelli RP, Reed MA, Malinski T, Spiegel DA, Mooney DJ, Fahmy TM. Spatiotemporal control over molecular delivery and cellular encapsulation from electropolymerized micro- and nanopatterned surfaces. Adv Funct Mater. 2009;19 (18) :2888-2895.Abstract
Bioactive, patterned micro- and nanoscale surfaces that can be spatially engineered for three-dimensional ligand presentation and sustained release of signaling molecules represent a critical advance for the development of next-generation diagnostic and therapeutic devices. Lithography is ideally suited to patterning such surfaces due to its precise, easily scalable, high-throughput nature; however, to date polymers patterned by these techniques have not demonstrated the capacity for sustained release of bioactive agents. We demonstrate here a class of lithographically-defined, electropolymerized polymers with monodisperse micro- and nanopatterned features capable of sustained release of bioactive drugs and proteins. We show that precise control can be achieved over the loading capacity and release rates of encapsulated agents and illustrate this aspect using a fabricated surface releasing a model antigen (ovalbumin) and a cytokine (interleukin-2) for induction of a specific immune response. We further demonstrate the ability of this technique to enable three-dimensional control over cellular encapsulation. The efficacy of the described approach is buttressed by its simplicity, versatility, and reproducibility, rendering it ideally suited for biomaterials engineering.
Fischbach C, Kong H, Hsiong SX, Evangelista MB, Yuen W, Mooney DJ. Cancer cell angiogenic capability is regulated by 3D culture and integrin engagement. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009;106 (2) :399-404.Abstract
Three-dimensional culture alters cancer cell signaling; however, the underlying mechanisms and importance of these changes on tumor vascularization remain unclear. A hydrogel system was used to examine the role of the transition from 2D to 3D culture, with and without integrin engagement, on cancer cell angiogenic capability. Three-dimensional culture recreated tumor microenvironmental cues and led to enhanced interleukin 8 (IL-8) secretion that depended on integrin engagement with adhesion peptides coupled to the polymer. In contrast, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secretion was unaffected by 3D culture with or without substrate adhesion. IL-8 diffused greater distances and was present in higher concentrations in the systemic circulation, relative to VEGF. Implantation of a polymeric IL-8 delivery system into GFP bone marrow-transplanted mice revealed that localized IL-8 up-regulation was critical to both the local and systemic control of tumor vascularization in vivo. In summary, 3D integrin engagement within tumor microenvironments regulates cancer cell angiogenic signaling, and controlled local and systemic blockade of both IL-8 and VEGF signaling may improve antiangiogenic therapies.
Yung YC, Vandenburgh H, Mooney DJ. Cellular strain assessment tool (CSAT): precision-controlled cyclic uniaxial tensile loading. J Biomech. 2009;42 (2) :178-82.Abstract
The development of a multi-sample strain device and elastomeric culture wells designed to systematically assess strain effects on cell cultures is presented in this report. This device enables one to precisely conduct experimental analyses in sterile conditions while delivering cyclic uniaxial tensile strain. The input to the computer interface allows one to alter variables of frequency, duration, and amplitude of strain. The influence of strain on the migration of human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) cultured on 2D polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) surfaces was examined to verify the utility of this system.
Hsiong SX, Boontheekul T, Huebsch N, Mooney DJ. Cyclic arginine-glycine-aspartate peptides enhance three-dimensional stem cell osteogenic differentiation. Tissue Eng Part A. 2009;15 (2) :263-72.Abstract
The role of morphogens in bone regeneration has been widely studied, whereas the effect of matrix cues, particularly on stem cell differentiation, are less well understood. In this work, we investigated the effects of arginine-glycine-aspartate (RGD) ligand conformation (linear vs cyclic RGD) on primary human bone marrow stromal cell (hBMSC) and D1 stem cell osteogenic differentiation in three-dimensional (3D) culture and compared their response with that of committed MC3T3-E1 preosteoblasts to determine whether the stage of cell differentiation altered the response to the adhesion ligands. Linear RGD densities that promoted osteogenic differentiation of committed cells (MC3T3-E1 preosteoblasts) did not induce differentiation of hBMSCs or D1 stem cells, although matrices presenting the cyclic form of this adhesion ligand enhanced osteoprogenitor differentiation in 3D culture. This may be due to enhanced integrin-ligand binding. These studies indicate that biomaterial design parameters optimized for differentiated cell types may not directly translate to stem cell populations, because less-committed cells may require more instruction than differentiated cells. It is likely that design of synthetic extracellular matrices tailored to promote stem cell differentiation may enhance bone regeneration by transplanted cells.
Yung YC, Chae J, Buehler MJ, Hunter CP, Mooney DJ. Cyclic tensile strain triggers a sequence of autocrine and paracrine signaling to regulate angiogenic sprouting in human vascular cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009;106 (36) :15279-84.Abstract
Mechanical signals regulate blood vessel development in vivo, and have been demonstrated to regulate signal transduction of endothelial cell (EC) and smooth muscle cell (SMC) phenotype in vitro. However, it is unclear how the complex process of angiogenesis, which involves multiple cell types and growth factors that act in a spatiotemporally regulated manner, is triggered by a mechanical input. Here, we describe a mechanism for modulating vascular cells during sequential stages of an in vitro model of early angiogenesis by applying cyclic tensile strain. Cyclic strain of human umbilical vein (HUV)ECs up-regulated the secretion of angiopoietin (Ang)-2 and PDGF-betabeta, and enhanced endothelial migration and sprout formation, whereas effects were eliminated with shRNA knockdown of endogenous Ang-2. Applying strain to colonies of HUVEC, cocultured on the same micropatterned substrate with nonstrained human aortic (HA)SMCs, led to a directed migration of the HASMC toward migrating HUVECs, with diminished recruitment when PDGF receptors were neutralized. These results demonstrate that a singular mechanical cue (cyclic tensile strain) can trigger a cascade of autocrine and paracrine signaling events between ECs and SMCs critical to the angiogenic process.
Ali OA, Huebsch N, Cao L, Dranoff G, Mooney DJ. Infection-mimicking materials to program dendritic cells in situ. Nat Mater. 2009;8 (2) :151-8.Abstract
Cancer vaccines typically depend on cumbersome and expensive manipulation of cells in the laboratory, and subsequent cell transplantation leads to poor lymph-node homing and limited efficacy. We propose that materials mimicking key aspects of bacterial infection may instead be used to directly control immune-cell trafficking and activation in the body. It is demonstrated that polymers can be designed to first release a cytokine to recruit and house host dendritic cells, and subsequently present cancer antigens and danger signals to activate the resident dendritic cells and markedly enhance their homing to lymph nodes. Specific and protective anti-tumour immunity was generated with these materials, as 90% survival was achieved in animals that otherwise die from cancer within 25 days. These materials show promise as cancer vaccines, and more broadly suggest that polymers may be designed to program and control the trafficking of a variety of cell types in the body.
Cao L, Arany PR, Wang Y-S, Mooney DJ. Promoting angiogenesis via manipulation of VEGF responsiveness with notch signaling. Biomaterials. 2009;30 (25) :4085-93.Abstract
Promoting angiogenesis via delivery of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and other angiogenic factors is both a potential therapy for cardiovascular diseases and a critical aspect for tissue regeneration. The recent demonstration that VEGF signaling is modulated by the Notch signaling pathway, however, suggests that inhibiting Notch signaling may enhance regional neovascularization, by altering the responsiveness of local endothelial cells to angiogenic stimuli. We tested this possibility with in vitro assays using human endothelial cells, as well as in a rodent hindlimb ischemia model. Treatment of cultured human endothelial cells with DAPT, a gamma secretase inhibitor, increased cell migration and sprout formation in response to VEGF stimulation with a biphasic dependence on DAPT concentration. Further, delivery of an appropriate combination of DAPT and VEGF from an injectable alginate hydrogel system into ischemic hindlimbs led to a faster recovery of blood flow than VEGF or DAPT alone; perfusion levels reached 80% of the normal level by week 4 with combined DAPT and VEGF delivery. Direct intramuscular or intraperitoneal injection of DAPT did not result in the same level of improvement, suggesting that appropriate presentation of DAPT (gel delivery) is important for its activity. DAPT delivery from the hydrogels also did not lead to any adverse side effects, in contrast to systemic introduction of DAPT. Altogether, these results suggest a new approach to promote angiogenesis by controlling Notch signaling, and may provide new options to treat patients with diseases that diminish angiogenic responsiveness.
Ali OA, Emerich D, Dranoff G, Mooney DJ. In situ regulation of DC subsets and T cells mediates tumor regression in mice. Sci Transl Med. 2009;1 (8) :8ra19.Abstract
Vaccines are largely ineffective for patients with established cancer, as advanced disease requires potent and sustained activation of CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) to kill tumor cells and clear the disease. Recent studies have found that subsets of dendritic cells (DCs) specialize in antigen cross-presentation and in the production of cytokines, which regulate both CTLs and T regulatory (Treg) cells that shut down effector T cell responses. Here, we addressed the hypothesis that coordinated regulation of a DC network, and plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) and CD8(+) DCs in particular, could enhance host immunity in mice. We used functionalized biomaterials incorporating various combinations of an inflammatory cytokine, immune danger signal, and tumor lysates to control the activation and localization of host DC populations in situ. The numbers of pDCs and CD8(+) DCs, and the endogenous production of interleukin-12, all correlated strongly with the magnitude of protective antitumor immunity and the generation of potent CD8(+) CTLs. Vaccination by this method maintained local and systemic CTL responses for extended periods while inhibiting FoxP3 Treg activity during antigen clearance, resulting in complete regression of distant and established melanoma tumors. The efficacy of this vaccine as a monotherapy against large invasive tumors may be a result of the local activity of pDCs and CD8(+) DCs induced by persistent danger and antigen signaling at the vaccine site. These results indicate that a critical pattern of DC subsets correlates with the evolution of therapeutic antitumor responses and provide a template for future vaccine design.
Huebsch N, Mooney DJ. Inspiration and application in the evolution of biomaterials. Nature. 2009;462 (7272) :426-32.Abstract
Biomaterials, traditionally defined as materials used in medical devices, have been used since antiquity, but recently their degree of sophistication has increased significantly. Biomaterials made today are routinely information rich and incorporate biologically active components derived from nature. In the future, biomaterials will assume an even greater role in medicine and will find use in a wide variety of non-medical applications through biologically inspired design and incorporation of dynamic behaviour.
Tayalia P, Mooney DJ. Controlled growth factor delivery for tissue engineering. Adv Mater. 2009;21 (32-33) :3269-85.Abstract
Growth factors play a crucial role in information transfer between cells and their microenvironment in tissue engineering and regeneration. They initiate their action by binding to specific receptors on the surface of target cells and the chemical identity, concentration, duration, and context of these growth factors contain information that dictates cell fate. Hence, the importance of exogenous delivery of these molecules in tissue engineering is unsurprising, considering their importance for tissue regeneration. However, the short half-lives of growth factors, their relatively large size, slow tissue penetration, and their potential toxicity at high systemic levels, suggest that conventional routes of administration are unlikely to be effective. In this review, we provide an overview of the design criteria for growth factor delivery vehicles with respect to the growth factor itself and the microenvironment for delivery. We discuss various methodologies that could be adopted to achieve this localized delivery, and strategies using polymers as delivery vehicles in particular.
2008
La Gerche A, Connelly KA, Mooney DJ, MacIsaac AI, Prior DL. Biochemical and functional abnormalities of left and right ventricular function after ultra-endurance exercise. Heart. 2008;94 (7) :860-6.Abstract
BACKGROUND: There is evidence that ultra-endurance exercise causes myocardial injury. The extent and duration of these changes remains unresolved. Recent reports have speculated that structural adaptations to exercise, particularly of the right ventricle, may predispose to tachyarrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. OBJECTIVE: To quantify the extent and duration of post-exercise cardiac injury with particular attention to right ventricular (RV) dysfunction. METHODS: 27 athletes (20 male, 7 female) were tested 1 week before, immediately after and 1 week after an ultra-endurance triathlon. Tests included cardiac troponin I (cTnI), B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and comprehensive echocardiographic assessment. RESULTS: 26 athletes completed the race and testing procedures. Post-race, cTnI was raised in 15 athletes (58%) and the mean value for the entire cohort increased (0.17 vs 0.49 microg/l, p<0.01). BNP rose in every athlete and the mean increased significantly (12.2 vs 42.5 ng/l, p<0.001). Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) was unchanged (60.4% vs 57.5%, p = 0.09), but integrated systolic strain decreased (16.9% vs 15.1%, p<0.01). New regional wall motion abnormalities developed in seven athletes (27%) and LVEF was reduced in this subgroup (57.8% vs 45.9%, p<0.001). RV function was reduced in the entire cohort with decreases in fractional area change (0.47 vs 0.39, p<0.01) and tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (21.8 vs 19.1 mm, p<0.01). At follow-up, all variables returned to baseline except in one athlete where RV dysfunction persisted. CONCLUSION: Myocardial damage occurs during intense ultra-endurance exercise and, in particular, there is a significant reduction in RV function. Almost all abnormalities resolve within 1 week.

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