Cues from the material to which a cell is adherent (e.g., adhesion ligand presentation, substrate elastic modulus) clearly influence the phenotype of differentiated cells. However, it is currently unclear if stem cells respond similarly to these cues. This study examined how the overall density and nanoscale organization of a model cell adhesion ligand (arginine-glycine-aspartic acid [RGD] containing peptide) presented from hydrogels of varying stiffness regulated the proliferation of a clonally derived stem cell line (D1 cells) and preosteoblasts (MC3T3-E1). While the growth rate of MC3T3-E1 preosteoblasts was responsive to nanoscale RGD ligand organization and substrate stiffness, the D1 stem cells were less sensitive to these cues in their uncommitted state. However, once the D1 cells were differentiated towards the osteoblast lineage, they became more responsive to these signals. These results demonstrate that the cell response to material cues is dependent on the stage of cell commitment or differentiation, and these findings will likely impact the design of biomaterials for tissue regeneration.
Several high-resolution imaging techniques such as FESEM, TEM and AFM are compared with respect to their application on alginate hydrogels, a widely used polysaccharide biomaterial. A new AFM method applicable to RGD peptides covalently conjugated to alginate hydrogels is described. High-resolution images of RGD adhesion ligand distribution were obtained by labeling biotinylated RGD peptides with streptavidin-labeled gold nanoparticles. This method may broadly provide a useful tool for sECM characterization and design for tissue regeneration strategies.
Many cell populations, derived from both adult tissues and embryonic stem cells, show promise for the treatment of a variety of diseases. Although the major effort in stem cell therapies in the past has been identifying potentially therapeutic cells, it is now clear that developing systems to deliver these cells and promote their efficient engraftment will provide an equally challenging task. More sophisticated pretransplantation manipulations and material carriers may dramatically improve the survival, engraftment, and fate control of transplanted stem cells and their ultimate clinical utility.
PURPOSE: To attain the effective local and sustained delivery of plasmid DNA (pDNA) encoding for a growth factor.
METHODS: We hypothesized that controlling the degradation rate of biomaterials encapsulating pDNA via concurrent physical dissociation of the cross-linked structure and hydrolytic chain breakage of polymers would allow one to significantly broaden the range of pDNA release rate. This hypothesis was examined using ionically cross-linked polysaccharide hydrogels which were previously designed to rapidly degrade via engineering of ionic cross-linking junction and partial oxidation of polysaccharide chains.
RESULTS: The hydrogel degradation rates were varied over the broad range, and pDNA release correlated with the gel degradation rate. Degradable hydrogels were used for the local and sustained delivery of a pDNA encoding for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the ischemic hindlimbs of mice, and local pDNA release significantly improved the recovery of blood perfusion as compared with a bolus injection of VEGFencoding pDNA.
CONCLUSION: This strategy to control the hydrogel degradation rate may be useful in regulating the delivery of a broad array of macromolecular drugs, and subsequently improve their therapeutic efficacy.
Our group has previously created a functional neointestine that is capable of restoring absorptive function. However, the endogenous level of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is markedly reduced in the construct compared to native bowel. Therefore, we wanted to locally deliver VEGF in a sustained fashion to upregulate angiogenesis in the neointestine. Rat recombinant VEGF was encapsulated in poly(lactide-co-glycolide) microspheres by a double emulsion method. Release kinetics and bioactivity were determined in vitro. Tissue-engineered intestine was generated by seeding donor neonatal rat intestinal organoid units onto a biodegradable polyglycolic acid scaffold along with VEGF-containing or empty microspheres, and wrapped in the omentum of recipient rats. After 4 weeks, the neointestinal cysts were analyzed for morphometry, VEGF levels, epithelial proliferation, and capillary density. Sustained release of biologically active VEGF was confirmed by in vitro studies. Intestinal constructs with VEGF microspheres were significantly larger than those containing empty microspheres. Tissue VEGF levels were significantly higher in neointestine loaded with encapsulated VEGF compared to those without growth factor. Epithelial cellular proliferation and capillary density were significantly increased in the VEGF-containing neointestinal constructs compared to empty constructs. Tissue-engineered intestine responds to sustained delivery of VEGF by upregulating microvasculature and epithelial proliferation.
Cell-interactive polymers have been widely used as synthetic extracellular matrices to regulate cell function and promote tissue regeneration. However, there is a lack of quantitative understanding of the cell-material interface. In this study, integrin-adhesion ligand bond formation of preosteoblasts and D1 stem cells with RGD presenting alginate matrices were examined using FRET and flow cytometry. Bond number increased with adhesion ligand density but did not change with RGD island spacing for both cell types. Integrin expression varied with cell type and substrate in 2D culture, but the integrin expression profiles of both cell types were similar when cultured in 3D RGD presenting substrates and distinct from 2D culture. In summary, combining a FRET technique to quantify bond formation with flow cytometry to elucidate integrin expression can define specific cell-material interactions for a given material system and may be useful for informing biomaterial design strategies for cell-based therapies.
One goal of tissue engineering is to replace lost or compromised tissue function, and an approach to this is to control the interplay between materials (scaffolds), cells and growth factors to create environments that promote the regeneration of functional tissues and organs. An increased understanding of the chemical signals that direct cell differentiation, migration and proliferation, advances in scaffold design and peptide engineering that allow this signaling to be recapitulated and the development of new materials, such as DNA-based and stimuli-sensitive polymers, have recently given engineers enhanced control over the chemical properties of a material and cell fate. Additionally, the immune system, which is often overlooked, has been shown to play a beneficial role in tissue repair, and future endeavors in material design will potentially expand to include immunomodulation.
Cell-based therapies are attractive for revascularizing and regenerating tissues and organs, but clinical trials of endothelial progenitor cell transplantation have not resulted in consistent benefit. We propose a different approach in which a material delivery system is used to create a depot of vascular progenitor cells in vivo that exit over time to repopulate the damaged tissue and participate in regeneration of a vascular network. Microenvironmental conditions sufficient to maintain the viability and outward migration of outgrowth endothelial cells (OECs) have been delineated, and a material incorporating these signals improved engraftment of transplanted cells in ischemic murine hindlimb musculature, and increased blood vessel densities from 260 to 670 vessels per mm(2), compared with direct cell injection. Further, material deployment dramatically improved the efficacy of these cells in salvaging ischemic murine limbs, whereas bolus OEC delivery was ineffective in preventing toe necrosis and foot loss. Finally, material deployment of a combination of OECs with another cell population commonly isolated from peripheral or cord blood, endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) returned perfusion to normal levels in 40 days, and prevented toe and foot necrosis. Direct injection of an EPC/OEC combination was minimally effective in improving limb perfusion, and untreated limbs underwent autoamputation in 3 days. These results demonstrate that vascular progenitor cell utility is highly dependent on the mode of delivery, and suggest that one can create new vascular beds for a variety of applications with this material-controlled deployment of cells.
Many functions of the extracellular matrix can be mimicked by small peptide fragments (e.g., arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) sequence) of the entire molecule, but the presentation of the peptides is critical to their effects on cells. It is likely that some effects of peptide presentation from biomaterials simply relate to the number of bonds formed between cell receptors and the adhesion ligands, but a lack of tools to quantify bond number limits direct investigation of this assumption. The impact of different ligand presentations (density, affinity, and nanoscale distribution) on the proliferation of C2C12 and human primary myoblasts was first examined in this study. Increasing the ligand density or binding affinity led to a similar enhancement in proliferation of C2C12 cells and human primary myoblasts. The nanoscale distribution of clustered RGD ligands also influenced C2C12 cells and human primary myoblast proliferation, but in an opposing manner. A theological technique and a FRET technique were then utilized to quantify the number of receptor-ligand interactions as a function of peptide presentation. Higher numbers of bonds were formed when the RGD density and affinity were increased, as measured with both techniques, and bond number correlated with cell growth rates. However, the influence of the nanoscale peptide distribution did not appear to be solely a function of bond number. Altogether, these findings provide significant insight to the role of peptide presentation in the regulation of cell proliferation, and the approaches developed in this work may have significant utility in probing how adhesion regulates a variety of other cellular functions and aid in developing design criterion for cell-interactive materials.
Current techniques to educate dendritic cells (DCs) ex vivo for immunotherapy are plagued by inefficient protocols and DC modifications are often transient and lost upon transplantation. This study investigated the role of sustained presentation of GM-CSF and PEI condensed pDNA (PEI-DNA) on gene transfer and long-term gene expression. Appropriate GM-CSF signaling during DC transfection promoted PEI-DNA uptake, although high cytokine concentrations induced intercellular DNA degradation, indicating the need for controlled presentation. Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) scaffolds that continuously stimulated DCs with both GM-CSF and PEI-DNA led to a 20-fold increase in gene expression, and high levels of expression persisted for a period of 10 days, in vitro. These results encourage the exploitation of biomaterials and GM-CSF to develop novel delivery vectors for genetically modified DCs or to genetically program host DCs in situ for vaccination and the treatment of autoimmunity.
OBJECTIVE: This study investigates whether local sequential delivery of vascular endothelial growth factor-A(165) (VEGF-A(165)) followed by platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB) with alginate hydrogels could induce an angiogenic effect and functional improvement greater than single factors after myocardial infarction.
METHODS: Alginate hydrogels were prepared by combining high and low molecular weight alginate. Growth factor release rates were monitored over time in vitro with 125I-labelled VEGF-A(165) and PDGF-BB included in the gels. One week after myocardial infarction was induced in Fisher rats, gels with VEGF-A(165), PDGF-BB, or both were given intra-myocardially along the border of the myocardial infarction. Vessel density was analysed in hearts and cardiac function was determined by Tissue Doppler Echocardiography. In addition, the angiogenic effect of sequenced delivery was studied in vitro in aortic rings from C57B1/6 mice.
RESULTS: Alginate gels were capable of delivering VEGF-A(165) and PDGF-BB in a sustainable manner, and PDGF-BB was released more slowly than VEGF-A(165). Sequential growth factor administration led to a higher density of alpha-actin positive vessels than single factors, whereas no further increment was found in capillary density. Sequential protein delivery increased the systolic velocity-time integral and displayed a superior effect than single factors. In the aortic ring model, sequential delivery led to a higher angiogenic effect than single factor administration.
CONCLUSIONS: The alginate hydrogel is an effective and promising injectable delivery system in a myocardial infarction model. Sequential growth factor delivery of VEGF-A(165) and PDGF-BB induces mature vessels and improves cardiac function more than each factor singly. This may indicate clinical utility.
BACKGROUND: Our aim was to study the independent effect of heart rate (HR) on parameters of diastolic function, particularly mitral annular velocities measured by tissue Doppler imaging (TDI), an effect which is not well understood.
METHODS: Sixteen patients with dual chamber pacemakers attending for routine pacemaker review underwent detailed echocardiographic assessment during atrial pacing with intact atrioventricular conduction at baseline and accelerated HRs. Mitral inflow and annular tissue Doppler velocities and systolic strain parameters were compared.
RESULTS: Parameters of systolic function were unaffected by increased HR. When these parameters were compared at baseline (mean 67 bpm) and accelerated HR (mean 80 bpm), the following was observed: a significant decrease in early mitral inflow (E) wave (70.5 +/- 5.5 cm/s vs 63.5 +/- 4.9 cm/s, P < 0.02) and early mitral annular (E') velocities (7.0 +/- 0.5 cm/s vs 6.3 +/- 0.6 cm/s, P < 0.003) and a significant increase in mitral inflow A wave (70.3 +/- 4.5 cm/s vs 77.3 +/- 4.4 cm/s, P < 0.05) and late mitral annular (A') velocities (9.3 +/- 0.6 cm/s vs 10.8 +/- 0.5, P < 0.00004).
CONCLUSION: Changes in HR have previously unrecognized significant effects on tissue Doppler parameters of diastolic function. Further study is required to determine if tissue Doppler derived annular velocities should be corrected for HR.
An 8-mm rat segmental defect model was used to evaluate quantitatively the ability of longitudinally oriented poly(L-lactide-co-D,L-lactide) scaffolds with or without growth factors to promote bone healing. BMP-2 and TGF-beta3, combined with RGD-alginate hydrogel, were co-delivered to femoral defects within the polymer scaffolds at a dose previously shown to synergistically induce ectopic mineralization. A novel modular composite implant design was used to achieve reproducible stable fixation, provide a window for longitudinal in vivo micro-CT monitoring of 3D bone ingrowth, and allow torsional biomechanical testing of functional integration. Sequential micro-CT analysis showed that bone ingrowth increased significantly between 4 and 16 weeks for the scaffold-treated defects with or without growth factors, but no increase with time was observed in empty defect controls. Treatment with scaffold alone improved defect stability at 16 weeks compared to nontreatment, but did not achieve bone union or restoration of mechanical function. Augmentation of scaffolds with BMP-2 and TGF-beta3 significantly increased bone formation at both 4 and 16 weeks compared to nontreatment, but only produced bone bridging of the defect region in two of six cases. Histological evaluation indicated that bone formed first at the periphery of the scaffolds, followed by more limited mineral deposition within the scaffold interior, suggesting that the cells participating in the initial healing response were primarily derived from periosteum. This study introduces a challenging segmental defect model that facilitates quantitative evaluation of strategies to repair critically sized bone defects. Healing of the defect region was improved by implanting structural polymeric scaffolds infused with growth factors incorporated within RGD-alginate. However, functional integration of the constructs appeared limited by continued presence of slow-degrading scaffolds and suboptimal dose or delivery of osteoinductive signals.
Regenerative medicine holds great promise for orthopaedic surgery. As surgeons continue to face challenges regarding the healing of diseased or injured musculoskeletal tissues, regenerative medicine aims to develop novel therapies that will replace, repair, or promote tissue regeneration. This review article will provide an overview of the different research areas involved in regenerative medicine, such as stem cells, bioinductive factors, and scaffolds. The potential use of stem cells for orthopaedic tissue engineering will be addressed by presenting the current progress with skeletal muscle-derived stem cells. As well, the development of a revascularized massive allograft will be described and will serve as a prototypic model of orthopaedic tissue engineering. Lastly, we will describe current approaches used to design cell instructive materials and how they can be used to promote and regulate the formation of bony tissue.
There is a need for new therapeutic strategies to treat bone defects caused by trauma, disease or tissue loss. Injectable systems for cell transplantation have the advantage of allowing the use of minimally invasive surgical procedures, and thus for less discomfort to patients. In the present study, it is hypothesized that Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD)-coupled in a binary (low and high molecular weight) injectable alginate composition is able to influence bone cell differentiation in a three-dimensional (3D) structure. Viability, metabolic activity, cytoskeleton organization, ultrastructure and differentiation (alkaline phosphatase (ALP), von Kossa, alizarin red stainings and osteocalcin quantification) of immobilized cells were assessed. Cells within RGD-modified alginate microspheres were able to establish more interactions with the synthetic extracellular matrix as visualized by confocal laser scanning microscope and transmission electron microscopy imaging, and presented a much higher level of differentiation (more intense ALP and mineralization stainings and higher levels of osteocalcin secretion) when compared to cells immobilized within unmodified alginate microspheres. These findings demonstrate that peptides covalently coupled to alginate were efficient in influencing cell behavior within this 3D system, and may provide adequate preparation of osteoblasts for cell transplantation.
The current paradigm in designing biomaterials is to optimize material chemical and physical parameters based on correlations between these parameters and downstream biological responses, whether in vitro or in vivo. Extensive developments in molecular design of biomaterials have facilitated identification of several biophysical and biochemical variables (e.g. adhesion peptide density, substrate elastic modulus) as being critical to cell response. However, these empirical observations do not indicate whether different parameters elicit cell responses by modulating redundant variables of the cell-material interface (e.g. number of cell-material bonds, cell-matrix mechanics). Recently, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) has been applied to quantitatively analyze parameters of the cell-material interface for both two- and three-dimensional adhesion substrates. Tools based on FRET have been utilized to quantify several parameters of the cell-material interface relevant to cell response, including molecular changes in matrix proteins induced by interactions both with surfaces and cells, the number of bonds between integrins and their adhesion ligands, and changes in the crosslink density of hydrogel synthetic extracellular matrix analogs. As such techniques allow both dynamic and 3-D analyses they will be useful to quantitatively relate downstream cellular responses (e.g. gene expression) to the composition of this interface. Such understanding will allow bioengineers to fully exploit the potential of biomaterials engineered on the molecular scale, by optimizing material chemical and physical properties to a measurable set of interfacial parameters known to elicit a predictable response in a specific cell population. This will facilitate the rational design of complex, multi-functional biomaterials used as model systems for studying diseases or for clinical applications.
Hepatocyte transplantation is being investigated as a therapy for liver disease; however, its success has been limited by rapid death of the cells following transplantation. This study was dedicated to elucidating the mode of death responsible for loss of transplanted hepatocytes in order to guide future strategies for promoting their survival. Using a tissue engineering model, it was found that the environment within polymer scaffolds containing transplanted cells was hypoxic after 5 days in vivo, with (90 +/- 3)% of hepatocytes existing at pO(2) < 10 mmHg. The primary mode of hepatocyte death in response to hypoxic conditions of 0 or 2 vol % oxygen was then determined in vitro. Several assays for features of apoptosis and necrosis demonstrated that hepatocytes cultured in an anoxic environment died via necrosis, while culture at 2% oxygen inhibited proliferation. These results suggest it will not be possible to prevent hepatocyte death by interfering with the apoptotic process, and hypoxic conditions in the transplants must instead be addressed. The finding that the environment within cell transplantation scaffolds is hypoxic is likely applicable to many cell-based therapies, and a similar analysis of the primary mode of death for other cell types in response to hypoxia may be valuable in guiding future strategies for their transplantation.
Although the majority of current gene transfer techniques have focused on increasing the ability of the DNA to enter the cell, it is possible that changing the proliferative and migratory state of cells will influence the cells ability to take up and express plasmid DNA. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that growth factors (basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF)) used to alter the proliferative and migratory state of cells can alter plasmid DNA uptake and expression. In vitro studies indicate that enhancing cell proliferation with growth factor exposure enhances plasmid DNA uptake and expression. Furthermore, dual localized delivery of bFGF and plasmid DNA in vivo increases the expression, 3-6 times over control, as compared to plasmid delivery alone. Dual delivery of a factor promoting cell proliferation and a plasmid led to a further increase in the expression of the plasmid encoding bone morphogenetic protein-2 in a rat cranial defect by specific cell populations. The results of these studies suggest that increasing the proliferative state of target cell populations can enhance non-viral gene transfer.
It is hypothesized that the nanoscale organization of cell adhesion ligands in a synthetic ECM regulates nonviral gene delivery. This hypothesis was examined with pre-osteoblasts cultured on substrates which present varied density and spacing of synthetic adhesion ligands. The levels of gene transfer and expression were increased with the density of adhesion ligands, but decreased with the spacing of ligands, due to changes in the cell growth rate. This study provides a material-based control point on the nanometer scale for nonviral gene based therapies.
Congrats to David and team on their recent publication in Nature Communications! Here, they utilized antigen presenting cell-mimetic scaffolds to tune CAR T-cell product functionality by controlling the precise level of stimulation during T-cell activation to accommodate individual differences in the donor cells. Check out the publication here: Enhancing CAR-T cell functionality in a patient-specific manner