The integration of orthopedic implants with host bone presents a major challenge in joint arthroplasty, spinal fusion and tumor reconstruction. The cellular microenvironment can be programmed via implant surface functionalization allowing direct modulation of osteoblast adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation at the implant-bone interface. The development of layer-by-layer assembled polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) architectures has greatly expanded our ability to fabricate intricate nanometer to micron scale thin film coatings that conform to complex implant geometries. The in vivo therapeutic efficacy of thin PEM implant coatings for numerous biomedical applications has previously been reported. We have fabricated protamine-based PEM thin films that support the long-term proliferation and differentiation of pre-osteoblast cells on non-cross-linked film coated surfaces. These hydrophilic PEM functionalized surfaces with nanometer-scale roughness facilitated increased deposition of calcified matrix by osteoblasts in vitro, and thus offer the potential to enhance implant integration with host bone. The coatings can make an immediate impact in the osteogenic culture of stem cells and assessment of the osteogenic potential of new therapeutic factors.
We report on a novel fabrication approach to build multilayered optical tissue phantoms that serve as independently validated test targets for axial resolution and contrast in scattering measurements by depth-resolving optical coherent tomography (OCT) with general applicability to a variety of three-dimensional optical sectioning platforms. We implement a combinatorial bottom-up approach to prepare monolayers of light-scattering microspheres with interspersed layers of transparent polymer. A dense monolayer assembly of monodispersed microspheres is achieved via a combined methodology of polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs) for particle-substrate binding and convective particle flux for two-dimensional crystal array formation on a glass substrate. Modifications of key parameters in the layer-by-layer polyelectrolyte deposition approach are applied to optimize particle monolayer transfer from a glass substrate into an elastomer while preserving the relative axial positioning in the particle monolayer. Varying the dimensions of the scattering microspheres and the thickness of the intervening transparent polymer layers enables different spatial frequencies to be realized in the transverse dimension of the solid phantoms. Step-wise determination of the phantom dimensions is performed independently of the optical system under test to enable precise spatial calibration, independent validation, and quantitative dimensional measurements.
(120.4800) Optical standards and testing; (170.4500) Optical coherence tomography; (160.5470) Polymers; (170.1790) Confocal microscopy; (290.5820) Scattering measurements
There has been considerable interest in polyelectrolyte multilayer nanofilms, which have a variety of applications ranging from optical and electrochemical materials to biomedical devices. Polyelectrolyte multilayer nanofilms are constructed from aqueous solutions using electrostatic layer-by-layer self-assembly of oppositely-charged polyelectrolytes on a solid substrate. Multifunctional polyelectrolyte multilayer nanofilms have been studied using charged dyes, metal and inorganic nanoparticles, DNA, proteins, and viruses. In the past few years, there has been increasing attention to developing polyelectrolyte multilayer nanofilms as drug delivery vehicles. In this mini-review, we present recent developments in polyelectrolyte multilayer nanofilms with tunable drug delivery properties, with particular emphasis on the strategies in tuning the loading and release of drugs in polyelectrolyte multilayer nanofilms as well as their applications.
nanofilm; polyelectrolyte multilayer; drug delivery; electrostatic layer-by-layer self-assembly; biomedical device; surface modification
DNA nanostructures have been attractive due to their structural properties resulting in many important breakthroughs especially in controlled assemblies and many biological applications. Here, we report a unique energy storage device which is a supercapacitor that uses nanostructured DNA hydrogel (Dgel) as a template and layer-by-layer (LBL)-deposited polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs) as conductors. Our device, named as PEM-Dgel supercapacitor, showed excellent performance in direct contact with physiological fluids such as artificial urine and phosphate buffered saline without any need of additional electrolytes, and exhibited almost no cytotoxicity during cycling tests in cell culture medium. Moreover, we demonstrated that the PEM-Dgel supercapacitor has greater charge-discharge cycling stability in physiological fluids than highly concentrated acid electrolyte solution which is normally used for supercapacitor operation. These conceptually new supercapacitors have the potential to be a platform technology for the creation of implantable energy storage devices for packageless applications directly utilizing biofluids.
Hyaluronan is a polysaccharide that is increasingly investigated for its role in cellular adhesion and for the preparation of biomimetic matrices for tissue engineering. Hyaluronan gels are prepared for application as space fillers whereas hyaluronan films are usually obtained by adsorbing or grafting a single hyaluronan layer onto a biomaterial surface. Here, we examine the possibility to employ the layer-by-layer technique to deposit thin films of cationic modified hyaluronan (HA+) and hyaluronan (HA) of controlled thicknesses. The buildup conditions are investigated and growth is compared to that of other polyelectrolyte multilayer films containing either HA as polyanion or HA+ as polycation. The films could be formed in a low ionic strength medium but required to be cross-linked prior to be put in contact with physiological medium. NIH3T3 fibroblasts were perfectly viable on self-assembled hyaluronan films with however a preference for hyaluronan ending films. These findings point out the possibility to tune the thickness of thin hyaluronan films at the nanometer scale. Such architectures could be employed for investigating cell/substrate interactions or for functionalizing biomaterial surfaces.
We report an approach to the rapid release of DNA based on the application of electrochemical potentials to surfaces coated with polyelectrolyte-based thin films. We fabricated multilayered polyelectrolyte films (or ‘polyelectrolyte multilayers’, PEMs) using plasmid DNA and a model hydrolytically degradable cationic poly(β-amino ester) (polymer 1) on stainless steel substrates using a layer-by-layer approach. The application of continuous reduction potentials in the range of -1.1 to -0.7 V (vs. a Ag/AgCl electrode) to film-coated electrodes in PBS at 37 °C resulted in the complete release of DNA over a period of 1-2 minutes. Film-coated electrodes incubated under identical conditions in the absence of applied potentials required 1-2 days for complete release. Control over the magnitude of the applied potential provided control over the rate at which DNA was released. The results of these and additional physical characterization experiments are consistent with a mechanism of film disruption that is promoted by local increases in pH at the film/electrode interface (resulting from electrochemical reduction of water or dissolved oxygen) that disrupt ionic interactions in these materials. The results of cell-based experiments demonstrated that DNA was released in a form that remains intact and able to promote transgene expression in mammalian cells. Finally, we demonstrate that short-term (i.e., non-continuous) electrochemical treatments can also be used to promote faster film erosion (e.g., over 1-2 h) once the potential is removed. Past studies demonstrate that PEMs fabricated using polymer 1 can promote surface-mediated transfection of cells and tissues in vitro and in vivo. With further development, the electrochemical approaches reported here could thus provide new methods for the rapid, triggered, or spatially patterned transfer of DNA (or other agents) from surfaces of interest in a variety of fundamental and applied contexts.
Layer-by-Layer; Thin Films; DNA; Rapid Release; Electrochemical Methods
Materials that provide spatial and temporal control over the delivery of DNA and other nucleic acid-based agents from surfaces play important roles in the development of localized gene-based therapies. This review focuses on a relatively new approach to the immobilization and release of DNA from surfaces: methods based on the layer-by-layer assembly of thin multilayered films (or polyelectrolyte multilayers, PEMs). Layer-by-layer methods provide convenient, nanometer-scale control over the incorporation of DNA, RNA, and oligonucleotide constructs into thin polyelectrolyte films. Provided that these assemblies can be designed in ways that permit controlled film disassembly under physiological conditions, this approach can contribute new methods for spatial and/or temporal control over the delivery of nucleic acid-based therapeutics in vitro and in vivo. We describe applications of layer-by-layer assembly to the fabrication of DNA-containing films that can be used to provide control over the release of plasmid DNA from the surfaces of macroscopic objects and promote surface-mediated cell transfection. We also highlight the application of these methods to the coating of colloidal substrates and the fabrication of hollow micrometer-scale capsules that can be used to encapsulate and control the release or delivery of DNA and oligonucleotides. Current challenges, gaps in knowledge, and new opportunities for the development of these methods in the general area of gene delivery are discussed.
Gene delivery; Polyelectrolyte; Multilayered Films; Layer-by-layer; DNA; Transfection; Capsules
Interactions between hepatocytes and liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) are essential for the development and maintenance of hepatic phenotypic functions. We report the assembly of three-dimensional liver sinusoidal mimics comprised of primary rat hepatocytes, LSECs, and an intermediate chitosan–hyaluronic acid polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM). The height of the PEMs ranged from 30 to 55 nm and exhibited a shear modulus of ∼100 kPa. Hepatocyte–PEM cellular constructs exhibited stable urea and albumin production over a 7-day period, and these values were either higher or similar to cells cultured in a collagen sandwich. This is of significance because the thickness of a collagen gel is ∼1000-fold higher than the height of the chitosan–hyaluronic acid PEM. In the hepatocyte–PEM–LSEC liver-mimetic cellular constructs, LSEC phenotype was maintained, and these cultures exhibited stable urea and albumin production. CYP1A1/2 activity measured over a 7-day period was significantly higher in the hepatocyte–PEM–LSEC constructs than in collagen sandwich cultures. A 16-fold increase in CYP1A1/2 activity was observed for hepatocyte–PEM–10,000 LSEC samples, thereby suggesting that interactions between hepatocytes and LSECs are critical in enhancing the detoxification capability in hepatic cultures in vitro.
The use of surface coating on biomaterials can render the original substratum with new functionalities that can improve the chemical, physical, and mechanical properties as well as enhance cellular cues such as attachment, proliferation, and differentiation. In this work, we combined biocompatible polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) with a biomimetic polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) film made of poly(L-lysine) and hyaluronic acid (PLL/HA) for skeletal muscle tissue engineering. By microstructuring PDMS in grooves of a different width (5, 10, 30, and 100 μm) and by modulating the stiffness of the (PLL/HA) films, we guided skeletal muscle cell differentiation into myotubes. We found optimal conditions for both the formation of parallel-oriented myotubes and their maturation. Significantly, the myoblasts were collectively prealigned to the grooves before their differentiation. Before fusion, the highest aspect ratio and orientation of nuclei were observed for the 5 and 10 μm wide micropatterns. The formation of myotubes was observed regardless of the size of the micropatterns, and we found that their typical width was 10–12 μm. Their maturation was characterized by the immunolabeling of type II isomyosin. The amount of myosin striation was not affected by the topography, except for the 5 μm wide micropatterns. We highlighted the spatial constraints that led to an important nuclei deformation and further impairment of maturation within the 5 μm grooves. Altogether, our results show that the PEM film combined with PDMS is a powerful tool that is used for skeletal muscle engineering. This work opens perspectives for the development of skeletal muscle tissue in contact with films containing bioactive peptides or growth factors as well as for the study of pathogenic myotubes.
We report an approach to the design of multilayered polyelectrolyte thin films (or ‘polyelectrolyte multilayers’, PEMs) that can be used to provide tunable control over the release of plasmid DNA (or multiple different DNA constructs) from film-coated surfaces. Our approach is based upon methods for the layer-by-layer assembly of DNA-containing thin films, and exploits the properties of a new class of cationic ‘charge-shifting’ polymers (or amine-functionalized polymers that undergo gradual changes in net charge upon side-chain ester hydrolysis) to provide control over the rates at which these films erode and release DNA. We synthesized two ‘charge-shifting’ polymers (polymers 1 and 2) containing different side chain structures by ring-opening reactions of poly(2-alkenyl azlactone)s with two different tertiary amine functionalized alcohols (2-dimethylaminoethanol and 3-dimethyl-1-propanol, respectively). Subsequent characterization revealed large changes in the rates of side chain ester hydrolysis for these two polymers; whereas the half-life for the hydrolysis of the esters in polymer 1 was ~200 days, the half-life for polymer 2 was ~6 days. We demonstrate that these large differences in side chain hydrolysis make possible the design of PEMs that erode and promote the surface-mediated release of DNA either rapidly (e.g., over ~3 days for films fabricated using polymer 2) or slowly (e.g., over ~1 month for films fabricated using polymer 1). We demonstrate further that it is possible to design films with release profiles that are intermediate to these two extremes by fabricating films using solutions containing different mixtures of these two polymers. This approach can thus expand the usefulness of these two polymers and achieve a broader range of DNA release profiles without the need to synthesize polymers with new structures or properties. Finally, we demonstrate that polymers 1 and 2 can be used to fabricate multilayered films with hierarchical structures that promote the sequential release of two different DNA constructs with separate and distinct release profiles (e.g., the release of a first construct over a period of ~3 days, followed by the sustained release of a second for a period of ~70 days). With further development, this approach could contribute to the design of functional thin films and surface coatings that provide sophisticated control over the timing and the order of the release of two or more DNA constructs (or other agents) of interest in a range of biomedical contexts.
Layer-by-Layer; Polyelectrolyte; Thin Film; DNA Delivery; Surface-Mediated
We report an approach to the design of degradable polyelectrolyte-based films for the controlled release of siRNA from surfaces. Our approach is based on stepwise, layer-by-layer assembly of multilayered polyelectrolyte films (or ‘polyelectrolyte multilayers’, PEMs) using siRNA and a hydrolytically degradable poly(β-amino ester) (polymer 1). Fabrication of films using siRNA sequences for green fluorescent protein (GFP) or firefly luciferase resulted in linear growth of ultrathin films (~50 nm thick) that promoted the surface-mediated release of siRNA upon incubation in physiologically relevant media. Physicochemical characterization of these siRNA-containing films revealed large differences in film growth profiles, physical erosion profiles, and siRNA release profiles as compared to PEMs fabricated using polymer 1 and larger plasmid DNA constructs. For example, whereas films fabricated using plasmid DNA erode gradually and release DNA over a period of ~48 hours, films fabricated using siRNA released ~65% of incorporated siRNA within the first hour of incubation, prior to the onset of any observed film erosion. This initial burst of release was followed by a second, slower phase of release (accompanied by gradual film erosion) over the next 23 hours. These differences in release profiles and other behaviors likely result, at least in part, from large differences in the sizes of siRNA and plasmid DNA. Finally, we demonstrate that the siRNA in these films is released in a form that remains intact, functional, and able to silence targeted protein expression upon administration to mammalian cells in vitro. The results of this investigation provide a platform for the design of thin films and coatings that could be used to localize the release of siRNA from surfaces in a variety of fundamental and applied contexts (e.g., for development of new research tools or approaches to delivery from film-coated implants and other devices).
Microneedle patches contain micron-scale needles coated with bioactive agents for minimally invasive drug delivery to the skin. In this study, we introduce layer-by-layer approaches to the fabrication of ultrathin DNA- and protein-containing polyelectrolyte films (or ‘polyelectrolyte multilayers’, PEMs) on the surfaces of stainless steel microneedles. DNA-containing PEMs were fabricated on microneedles by the alternating deposition of plasmid DNA and a hydrolytically degradable poly(β-amino ester). Protein-containing PEMs were fabricated using sodium poly(styrene sulfonate) (SPS) and bovine pancreatic ribonuclease A (RNase A) conjugated to a synthetic protein transduction domain. Layer-by-layer assembly resulted in ultrathin, uniform, and defect-free coatings on the surfaces of the microneedles, as characterized by fluorescence microscopy. These films eroded and thereby released DNA or protein when incubated in saline or when inserted into porcine cadaver skin, and deposited DNA or protein along the edges of microneedle tracks to depths of ~500 to 600μm. We conclude that PEM-coated microneedles offer a novel and useful approach to the transdermal delivery of DNA- and protein-based therapeutics and could also prove useful in other applications.
DNA; layer-by-layer; microneedle patch; protein; skin; transdermal drug delivery
Laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) were used to characterize changes in nanoscale structure that occur when ultrathin polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs) are incubated in aqueous media. The PEMs investigated here were fabricated by the deposition of alternating layers of plasmid DNA and a hydrolytically degradable polyamine onto a precursor film composed of alternating layers of linear poly(ethylene imine) (LPEI) and sodium poly(styrene sulfonate) (SPS). Past studies of these materials in the context of gene delivery revealed transformations from a morphology that is smooth and uniform to one characterized by the formation of nanometer-scale particulate structures. We demonstrate that in-plane registration of LSCM and AFM images acquired from the same locations of films fabricated using fluorescently labeled polyelectrolytes allows the spatial distribution of individual polyelectrolyte species to be determined relative to the locations of topographic features that form during this transformation. Our results suggest that this physical transformation leads to a morphology consisting of a relatively less disturbed portion of film composed of polyamine and DNA juxtaposed over an array of particulate structures composed predominantly of LPEI and SPS. Characterization by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) microanalysis provides additional support for this interpretation. The combination of these different microscopy techniques provides insight into the structures and dynamics of these multicomponent thin films that cannot be achieved using any one method alone, and that could prove useful for the further development of these assemblies as platforms for the surface-mediated delivery of DNA.
Thin Films; Nanostructure; Polymers; Layer-by-Layer; DNA Delivery
There is a continuing drive in microfluidics to transfer microchip systems from the more expensive glass microchips to cheaper polymer microchips. Here, we investigate using polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEM) as a coating system for poly (methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) microchips to improve their functionality. The multilayer system was prepared by layer-on-layer depositon of poly (diallydimethylammonium) chloride (PDAD) and polystyrene sulfonate (PSS). Practical aspects of coating PMMA microchips were explored. The multilayer buildup process was monitored using EOF measurements, and the stability of the PEM was investigated. The performance of the PEM-PMMA microchip was compared to those of a standard glass microchip and a PEM-glass microchip in terms of electroosmotic flow and separating two fluorescent dyes. Several key findings in the development of the multilayer coating procedure for PMMA chips are also presented. It was found that, with careful preparation, a PEM-PMMA microchip can be prepared that has properties comparable - and in some cases superior - to those of a standard glass microchip.
We report the synthesis of a fluorescently end-labeled analog of a synthetic and degradable cationic poly(β-amino ester) (PBAE; polymer 1) used in past studies for the delivery of DNA and the layer-by-layer assembly of erodible polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs). The synthesis of an analog of polymer 1 having acrylate functionalized end groups provided a platform for the introduction of fluorescent labels by post-polymerization conjugate addition of amine-functionalized fluorophores. This approach enabled the synthesis of fluorescently end-labeled polymer (polymer 1FL) with molecular weights and polydispersities (Mn = 18,000; PDI ~1.8) similar to those used in past studies for the fabrication of PEMs using polymer 1. Layer-by-layer assembly of PEMs using polymer 1FL and poly(styrene sulfonate) enabled characterization of film erosion and, for the first time, direct observation of the release of cationic polymer from these assemblies using fluorescence microscopy and fluorometry. Our results shed new light on the behaviors of the cationic components of these PEMs and could prove useful for the design of thin films for a range of different controlled release applications. Our results also provide new fluorescent cationic polymer probes that could be useful for characterization of the behaviors of PBAEs in other fundamental or applied biotechnological contexts.
Cationic polymer; Degradable polymers; Thin films; Polyelectrolytes; Layer-by-layer
Developing in vitro engineered hepatic tissues that exhibit stable phenotype is a major challenge in the field of hepatic tissue engineering. However, the rapid dedifferentiation of hepatic parenchymal (hepatocytes) and non-parenchymal (liver sinusoidal endothelial, LSEC) cell types when removed from their natural environment in vivo remains a major obstacle. The primary goal of this study was to demonstrate that hepatic cells cultured in layered architectures could preserve or potentially enhance liver-specific behavior of both cell types. Primary rat hepatocytes and rat LSECs (rLSECs) were cultured in a layered three-dimensional (3D) configuration. The cell layers were separated by a chitosan-hyaluronic acid polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM), which served to mimic the Space of Disse. Hepatocytes and rLSECs exhibited several key phenotypic characteristics over a twelve day culture period. Immunostaining for the sinusoidal endothelial 1 antibody (SE-1) demonstrated that rLSECs cultured in the 3D hepatic model maintained this unique feature over twelve days. In contrast, rLSECs cultured in monolayers lost their phenotype within three days. The unique stratified structure of the 3D culture resulted in enhanced heterotypic cell-cell interactions, which led to improvements in hepatocyte functions. Albumin production increased three to six fold in the rLSEC-PEM-Hepatocyte cultures. Only rLSEC-PEM-Hepatocyte cultures exhibited increasing CYP1A1/2 and CYP3A activity. Well-defined bile canaliculi were observed only in the rLSEC-PEM-Hepatocyte cultures. Together, these data suggest that rLSEC-PEM-Hepatocyte cultures are highly suitable models to monitor the transformation of toxins in the liver and their transport out of this organ. In summary, these results indicate that the layered rLSEC-PEM-hepatocyte model, which recapitulates key features of hepatic sinusoids, is a potentially powerful medium for obtaining comprehensive knowledge on liver metabolism, detoxification and signaling pathways in vitro.
Polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs) fabricated from cationic polymers and DNA have been investigated broadly as materials for surface-mediated DNA delivery. One attractive aspect of this `multilayered' approach is the potential to exploit the presence of cationic polymer `layers' in these films to deliver DNA to cells more effectively. Past studies demonstrate that these films can promote transgene expression in vitro and in vivo, but significant questions remain regarding roles that the cationic polymers could play in promoting the internalization and processing of DNA. Here, we report physicochemical and in vitro cell-based characterization of DNA-containing PEMs fabricated using fluorescently end-labeled derivatives of a degradable polycation (polymer 1) used in past studies of surface-mediated transfection. This approach permitted simultaneous characterization of polymer and DNA in solution and in cells using fluorescence-based techniques, and provided information about the locations and behaviors of polymer 1 that could not be obtained using other methods. LSCM and flow cytometry experiments revealed that polymer 1 and DNA released from film-coated objects were both internalized extensively by cells, and that they were co-localized to a significant extent inside cells (e.g., ~58% of DNA was co-localized with polymer). Fluorescence anisotropy measurements of solutions containing partially eroded films were also consistent with the presence of aggregates of polymer 1 and DNA in solution (e.g., after release from surfaces, but prior to internalization by cells). Our results support the view that polymer 1 – which is incorporated into these materials as `layers' rather than as part of optimized, pre-formed `polyplexes' – can act to promote or enhance surface-mediated DNA delivery. More broadly, our results suggest opportunities to improve the delivery properties of DNA-containing PEMs by incorporation of additional `layers' of other conventional cationic polymers designed to address specific intracellular barriers to transfection, such as endosomal escape, more effectively.
Thin Films; DNA Delivery; Cationic Polymers; Polyelectrolytes; Layer-by-Layer
A promising strategy to accelerate joint implant integration and reduce recovery time and failure rates is to deliver a combination of certain growth factors to the integration site. There is a need to control the quantity of growth factors delivered at different times during the healing process to maximize efficacy. Polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) films, built using the layer-by-layer (LbL) technique, are attractive for releasing controlled amounts of potent growth factors over a sustained period. Here, we present PEM films that sequester physiological amounts of osteogenic rhBMP-2 (recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein - 2) and angiogenic rhVEGF165 (recombinant human vascular endothelial growth factor) in different ratios in a degradable [poly(β-amino ester)/polyanion/growth factor/ polyanion] LbL tetralayer repeat architecture where the biologic load scaled linearly with the number of tetralayers. No burst release of either growth factor was observed as the films degraded. The release of rhBMP-2 was sustained over a period of 2 weeks, while rhVEGF165 eluted from the film over the first 8 days. Both growth factors retained their efficacy, as quantified with relevant in vitro assays. rhBMP-2 initiated a dose dependent differentiation cascade in MC3T3-E1S4 pre-osteoblasts while rhVEGF165 upregulated HUVEC proliferation, and accelerated closure of a scratch in HUVEC cell cultures in a dose dependent manner. In vivo, the mineral density of ectopic bone formed de novo by rhBMP-2/rhVEGF165 PEM films was approximately 33% higher than when only rhBMP-2 was introduced, with a higher trabecular thickness, which would indicate a decrease in the risk of osteoporotic fracture. Bone formed throughout the scaffold when both growth factors were released, which suggests more complete remodeling due to an increased local vascular network. This study demonstrates a promising approach to delivering precise doses of multiple growth factors for a variety of implant applications where control over spatial and temporal release profile of the biologic is desired.
Controlled drug release; BMP; VEGF; bone; hip replacement prosthesis; layer-by-layer; polyelectrolyte multilayer; dose response
Gold nanorods (AuNRs) have unique optical properties for numerous biomedical applications, but the interactions between AuNRs and proteins, particularly those of the extracellular matrix (ECM), are poorly understood. Here the effects of AuNRs on the self-assembly, mechanics, and remodeling of type I collagen gels were examined in vitro. AuNRs were modified with polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs) to minimize cytotoxicity, and AuNRs with different terminal polymer chemistries were examined for their interactions with collagen by turbidity assays, rheological tests, and microscopy. Gel contraction assays were used to examine the effects of the PEM-coated AuNRs on cell-mediated collagen remodeling. Polyanion-terminated AuNRs significantly reduced the lag (nucleation) phase of collagen self-assembly and significantly increased the dynamic shear modulus of the polymerized gels, whereas polycation-terminated AuNRs had no effect on the mechanical properties of the collagen. Both polyanion- and polycation-terminated AuNRs significantly inhibited collagen gel contraction by cardiac fibroblasts, and the nanoparticles were localized in intra-, peri-, and extracellular compartments, suggesting that PEM-coated AuNRs influence cell behavior via multiple mechanisms. These results demonstrate the significance of nanoparticle-ECM interactions in determining the bioactivity of nanoparticles.
The fungal pathogen Candida albicans can form biofilms on the surfaces of medical devices that are resistant to drug treatment and provide a reservoir for recurrent infections. The use of fungicidal or fungistatic materials to fabricate or coat the surfaces of medical devices has the potential to reduce or eliminate the incidence of biofilm-associated infections. Here, we report on (i) the fabrication of multilayered polyelectrolyte thin films (PEMs) that promote the surface-mediated release of an antifungal β-peptide and (ii) the ability of these films to inhibit the growth of C. albicans on film-coated surfaces. We incorporated a fluorescently labeled antifungal β-peptide into the structures of PEMs fabricated from poly-L-glutamic acid (PGA) and poly-L-lysine (PLL) using a layer-by-layer fabrication procedure. These films remained stable when incubated in culture media at 37 °C and released β-peptide gradually into solution for up to 400 hours. Surfaces coated with β-peptide-containing films inhibited the growth of C. albicans, resulting in a 20% reduction of cell viability after two hours and a 74% decrease in metabolic activity after seven hours when compared to cells incubated on PGA/PLL coated surfaces. In addition, β-peptide-containing films inhibited hyphal elongation by 55%. These results, when combined, demonstrate that it is possible to fabricate β-peptide-containing thin films that inhibit the growth and proliferation of C. albicans and provide the basis of an approach that could be used to inhibit the formation of C. albicans biofilms on film-coated surfaces. The layer-by-layer approach reported here could ultimately be used to coat the surfaces of catheters, surgical instruments, and other devices to inhibit drug-resistant C. albicans biofilm formation in clinical settings.
Cross-linked polyelectrolyte multilayer films (CL PEM) have an increased rigidity and are mechanically more resistant than native (e.g. uncrosslinked) films. However, they are still biodegradable, which make them interesting candidates for biomedical applications. In this study, CL PEM films have been explored for their multifunctional properties as i) mechanically resistant ii) biodegradable and iii) bioactive films. Toward this end, we investigated drug loading into CL chitosan/hyaluronan (CHI/HA) and poly(L-lysine)/hyaluronan (PLL/HA) films by simple diffusion of the drugs. Sodium diclofenac and paclitaxel were chosen as model drugs and were successfully loaded into the films. The effect of varying the number of layers in the (CHI/HA) films as well as the cross-linker concentration on diclofenac loading were studied. Diclofenac was released from the film in about ten hours. Paclitaxel was also found to diffuse within CL films. Its activity was maintained after loading in the CL films and cellular viability could be reduced by about 55% over three days. Such simple approach may be applied to other types of cross-linked films and to other drugs. These results prove that it is possible to design multifunctional multilayer films that combine mechanical resistance, biodegradability and bioactivity properties into a single PEM architecture.
Here we present a new bifunctional layer-by-layer (LbL) construct made by combining a permanent microbicidal polyelectrolyte multilayered (PEM) base film with a hydrolytically degradable PEM top film that offers controlled and localized delivery of therapeutics. Two degradable film architectures are presented: 1) bolus release of an antibiotic (gentamicin) to eradicate initial infection at the implant site, or 2) sustained delivery of an anti-inflammatory drug (diclofenac) to cope with inflammation at the site of implantation due to tissue injury. Each degradable film was built on top of a permanent base film that imparts the implantable device surface with microbicidal functionality that prevents the formation of biofilms. Controlled-delivery of gentamicin was demonstrated over hours and diclofenac over days. Both drugs retained their efficacy upon release. The permanent microbicidal base film was biocompatible with A549 epithelial cancer cells and MC3T3-E1 osteoprogenitor cells, while also preventing bacteria attachment from turbid media for the entire duration of the two weeks studied. The microbicidal base film retains its functionality after the biodegradable films have completely degraded. The versatility of these PEM films and their ability to prevent biofilm formation make them attractive as coatings for implantable devices.
Layer-by-Layer; Polyelectrolyte multilayer; Microbicidal; Biofilm; Controlled release; Anti-inflammatory; Antibiotic; Coating; Biodegradable
It is increasingly appreciated that since cell and tissue functions are regulated by chemomechanical stimuli, precise control over such stimuli will improve the functionality of tissue models. However, due to the inherent difficulty in decoupling these cues as presented by extracellular materials, few studies have explored the independent modulation of biochemical and mechanical stimuli towards the manipulation of sustained cellular processes. Here, we demonstrate that both mechanical compliance and ligand presentation of synthetic, weak polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs) can be tuned independently to influence the adhesion and liver-specific functions of primary rat hepatocytes over extended in vitro culture (two weeks). These synthetic PEMs exhibited elastic moduli E ranging over 200 kPa -< E < 142 MPa, as much as one thousand-fold more compliant than tissue-culture polystyrene (E ∼ 2.5 GPa). The most compliant of these PEM substrata promoted hepatocyte adhesion and spheroidal morphology. Subsequent modification of PEMs with type I collagen and the proteoglycan decorin did not alter substrata compliance, but enhanced the retention of spheroids on surfaces and stabilized hepatic functions (albumin and urea secretion, CYP450 detoxification activity). Decorin exhibited unique compliance-mediated effects on hepatic functions, down-regulating the hepatocyte phenotype when presented on highly compliant substrata while up-regulating hepatocyte functions when presented on increasingly stiffer substrata. These results show that phenotypic functions of liver models can be modulated by leveraging synthetic polymers to study and optimize the interplay of biochemical and mechanical cues at the cell–material interface. More broadly, these results suggest an enabling approach for the systematic design of functional tissue models applied to drug screening, cell-based therapies and fundamental studies in development, physiology and disease.
Hepatocyte; Polyelectrolyte multilayers; Compliance; Surface modification; Chemomechanics
Inspired by the simplicity and versatility of layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly, we apply multilayered polyelectrolyte assemblies on nanoparticles to create viable systemic delivery systems. Focusing on tumor specific delivery, LbL nanoparticles that exhibit a pH sensitive outer stealth layer are demonstrated to target and be retained in hypoxic tumor regions. The neutral layers shed in response to acidity to reveal a charged nanoparticle surface that is readily taken up by tumor cells. The first in vivo demonstration of this mechanism of targeting is presented, as well as an initial examination of mechanism of uptake of the nanoparticles. We further demonstrate that this concept for tumor targeting is potentially valid for a broad range of cancers, with applicability for therapies that target hypoxic tumor tissue.
Layer-by-layer; Nanoparticles; Drug Delivery
Hyaluronic acid (HA), an anionic polysaccharide, is one of the major components of the natural extracellular matrix (ECM). Although HA has been widely used for tissue engineering applications, it does not support cell attachment and spreading and needs chemical modification to support cellular adhesion. Here, we present a simple approach to functionalize photocrosslinked HA hydrogels by deposition of poly(L-lysine) (PLL) and HA multilayer films made by the layer-by-layer (LbL) technique. PLL/HA multilayer film formation was assessed by using fluorescence microscopy, contact angle measurements, cationic dye loading and confocal microscopy. The effect of polyelectrolyte multilayer film formation on the physicochemical and mechanical properties of hydrogels revealed polyelectrolyte diffusion inside the hydrogel pores, increased hydrophobicity of the surface, reduced equilibrium swelling, and reduced compressive moduli of the modified hydrogels. Furthermore, NIH-3T3 fibroblasts seeded on the surface showed improved cell attachment and spreading on the multilayer functionalized hydrogels. Thus, modification of HA hydrogel surfaces with multilayer films affected their physicochemical properties and improved cell adhesion and spreading on these surfaces. This new hydrogel/PEM composite system may offer possibilities for various biomedical and tissue engineering applications, including growth factor delivery and co-culture systems.
Hydrogels; Hyaluronic acid; Photocrosslinked; Surface functionalization; Layer-by-layer; Polyelectrolyte diffusion; Cell adhesion