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1.  Alignment and composition of laminin–polycaprolactone nanofiber blends enhance peripheral nerve regeneration 
Peripheral nerve transection occurs commonly in traumatic injury, causing deficits distal to the injury site. Conduits for repair currently on the market are hollow tubes; however, they often fail due to slow regeneration over long gaps. To facilitate increased regeneration speed and functional recovery, the ideal conduit should provide biochemically relevant signals and physical guidance cues, thus playing an active role in regeneration. To that end, laminin and laminin–polycaprolactone (PCL) blend nanofibers were fabricated to mimic peripheral nerve basement membrane. In vitro assays established 10% (wt) laminin content is sufficient to retain neurite-promoting effects of laminin. In addition, modified collector plate design to introduce an insulating gap enabled the fabrication of aligned nanofibers. The effects of laminin content and fiber orientation were evaluated in rat tibial nerve defect model. The lumens of conduits were filled with nanofiber meshes of varying laminin content and alignment to assess changes in motor and sensory recovery. Retrograde nerve conduction speed at 6 weeks was significantly faster in animals receiving aligned nanofiber conduits than in those receiving random nanofiber conduits. Animals receiving nanofiber-filled conduits showed some conduction in both anterograde and retrograde directions, whereas in animals receiving hollow conduits, no impulse conduction was detected. Aligned PCL nanofibers significantly improved motor function; aligned laminin blend nanofibers yielded the best sensory function recovery. In both cases, nanofiber-filled conduits resulted in better functional recovery than hollow conduits. These studies provide a firm foundation for the use of natural–synthetic blend electrospun nanofibers to enhance existing hollow nerve guidance conduits.
doi:10.1002/jbm.a.33204
PMCID: PMC3550006  PMID: 22106069
biomimetic material; ECM; laminin; nerve regeneration; nanotopography
2.  Local delivery of FTY720 accelerates cranial allograft incorporation and bone formation 
Cell and tissue research  2011;347(3):553-566.
Endogenous stem cell recruitment to the site of skeletal injury is key to enhanced osseous remodeling and neovascularization. To this end, this study utilized a novel bone allograft coating of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLAGA) to sustain the release of FTY720, a selective agonist for sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptors, from calvarial allografts. Uncoated allografts, vehicle-coated, low dose FTY720 in PLAGA (1:200 w:w) and high dose FTY720 in PLAGA (1:40) were implanted into critical size calvarial bone defects. The ability of local FTY720 delivery to promote angiogenesis, maximize osteoinductivity and improve allograft incorporation by recruitment of bone progenitor cells from surrounding soft tissues and microcirculation was evaluated. FTY720 bioactivity after encapsulation and release was confirmed with sphingosine kinase 2 assays. HPLC-MS quantified about 50% loaded FTY720 release of the total encapsulated drug (4.5 µg) after 5 days. Following 2 weeks of defect healing, FTY720 delivery led to statistically significant increases in bone volumes compared to controls, with total bone volume increases for uncoated, coated, low FTY720 and high FTY720 of 5.98, 3.38, 7.2 and 8.9 mm3, respectively. The rate and extent of enhanced bone growth persisted through week 4 but, by week 8, increases in bone formation in FTY720 groups were no longer statistically significant. However, micro-computed tomography (microCT) of contrast enhanced vascular ingrowth (MICROFIL®) and histological analysis showed enhanced integration as well as directed bone growth in both high and low dose FTY720 groups compared to controls.
doi:10.1007/s00441-011-1217-3
PMCID: PMC3464023  PMID: 21863314
Bone tissue engineering; Drug delivery; Angiogenesis; Osseointegration; Massive Allograft
3.  Emerging Ideas: Treatment of Precollapse Osteonecrosis Using Stem Cells and Growth Factors 
Background
Osteonecrosis (ON) of the femoral head is a devastating disease affecting young patients at their most productive age, causing major socioeconomic burdens. ON is associated with various etiologic factors, and the pathogenesis of the disease is unknown. Most investigators believe the disease is the result of secondary microvascular compromise with subsequent bone and marrow cell death and defective bone repair.
Questions/Hypotheses
We hypothesize that local delivery of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and bone morphogenetic protein-6 (BMP-6), which induces angiogenesis and osteogenesis respectively, will reverse the disease process and provide a treatment for precollapse ON.
Method of Study
We will use genetically engineered bone marrow stem cells, carrying VEGF and BMP-6 genes, to enhance angiogenesis and osteogenesis in necrotic bone of an animal model, by local delivery of growth factor in addition to the bone-forming property of the stem cells. The participation, localization, and fate of the stem cells in the repair process will be evaluated by tracing marker-gene product. Osteogenesis and angiogenesis will be assessed using high-resolution xray CT and immunohistomorphometry quantitatively. Mechanical properties of the repair tissue will be determined using an indentation test of the femoral head.
Significance
We envision that a deliverable or injectable bone graft substitute containing engineered stem cells and therapeutic growth factors will be developed through this proposed study and will provide a much needed treatment for ON.
doi:10.1007/s11999-010-1738-1
PMCID: PMC3148382  PMID: 21161735
4.  Selective Activation of Sphingosine 1-Phosphate Receptors 1 and 3 Promotes Local Microvascular Network Growth 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2010;17(5-6):617-629.
Proper spatial and temporal regulation of microvascular remodeling is critical to the formation of functional vascular networks, spanning the various arterial, venous, capillary, and collateral vessel systems. Recently, our group has demonstrated that sustained release of sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) from biodegradable polymers promotes microvascular network growth and arteriolar expansion. In this study, we employed S1P receptor-specific compounds to activate and antagonize different combinations of S1P receptors to elucidate those receptors most critical for promotion of pharmacologically induced microvascular network growth. We show that S1P1 and S1P3 receptors act synergistically to enhance functional network formation via increased functional length density, arteriolar diameter expansion, and increased vascular branching in the dorsal skinfold window chamber model. FTY720, a potent activator of S1P1 and S1P3, promoted a 107% and 153% increase in length density 3 and 7 days after implantation, respectively. It also increased arteriolar diameters by 60% and 85% 3 and 7 days after implantation. FTY720-stimulated branching in venules significantly more than unloaded poly(D, L-lactic-co-glycolic acid). When implanted on the mouse spinotrapezius muscle, FTY720 stimulated an arteriogenic response characterized by increased tortuosity and collateralization of branching microvascular networks. Our results demonstrate the effectiveness of S1P1 and S1P3 receptor-selective agonists (such as FTY720) in promoting microvascular growth for tissue engineering applications.
doi:10.1089/ten.tea.2010.0404
PMCID: PMC3043977  PMID: 20874260
5.  The Enhancement of Bone Allograft Incorporation by the Local Delivery of the Sphingosine 1-phosphate Receptor Targeted Drug FTY720 
Biomaterials  2010;31(25):6417-6424.
Poor vascularization coupled with mechanical instability is the leading cause of post-operative complications and poor functional prognosis of massive bone allografts. To address this limitation, we designed a novel continuous polymer coating system to provide sustained localized delivery of pharmacological agent, FTY720, a selective agonist for sphingosine 1-phosphate receptors, within massive tibial defects. In vitro drug release studies validated 64% loading efficiency with complete release of compound following 14 days. Mechanical evaluation following six weeks of healing suggested significant enhancement of mechanical stability in FTY720 treatment groups compared with unloaded controls. Furthermore, superior osseous integration across the host-graft interface, significant enhancement in smooth muscle cell investment, and reduction in leukocyte recruitment was evident in FTY720 treated groups compared with untreated groups. Using this approach, we can capitalize on the existing mechanical and biomaterial properties of devitalized bone, add a controllable delivery system while maintaining overall porous structure, and deliver a small molecule compound to constitutively target vascular remodeling, osseous remodeling, and minimize fibrous encapsulation within the allograft-host bone interface. Such results support continued evaluation of drug-eluting allografts as a viable strategy to improve functional outcome and long-term success of massive cortical allograft implants.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.04.061
PMCID: PMC2904362  PMID: 20621764
6.  Mechanistic Exploration of Phthalimide Neovascular Factor 1 Using Network Analysis Tools 
Tissue engineering  2007;13(10):2561-2575.
Neovascularization is essential for the survival and successful integration of most engineering tissues after implantation in vivo. The objective of this study was to elucidate possible mechanisms of phthalimide neovascular factor 1 (PNF1), a new synthetic small molecule proposed for therapeutic induction of angiogenesis. Complementary deoxyribonucleic acid microarray analysis was used to identify 568 transcripts in human microvascular endothelial cells (HMVECs) that were significantly regulated after 24-h stimulation with 30 μM of PNF1, previously known as SC-3–149. Network analysis tools were used to identify genetic networks of the global biological processes involved in PNF1 stimulation and to describe known molecular and cellular functions that the drug regulated most highly. Examination of the most significantly perturbed networks identified gene products associated with transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β), which has many known effects on angiogenesis, and related signal transduction pathways. These include molecules integral to the thrombospondin, plasminogen, fibroblast growth factor, epidermal growth factor, ephrin, Rho, and Ras signaling pathways that are essential to endothelial function. Moreover, real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) of select genes showed significant increases in TGF-β-associated receptors endoglin and beta glycan. These experiments provide important insight into the pro-angiogenic mechanism of PNF1, namely, TGF-β-associated signaling pathways, and may ultimately offer new molecular targets for directed drug discovery.
doi:10.1089/ten.2007.0023
PMCID: PMC3124853  PMID: 17723106
7.  Influence of poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) microsphere degradation on arteriolar remodeling in the mouse dorsal skinfold window chamber 
Poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) is a biodegradable polymer that is widely used for drug delivery. However, the degradation of PLGA alters the local microenvironment and may influence tissue structure and/or function. Here, we studied whether PLGA degradation affects the structure of the arteriolar microcirculation through arteriogenic expansion of maximum lumenal diameters and/or the formation of new smooth muscle-coated vessels. Single microspheres comprised of 50:50 PLGA (521 ± 52.7 μm diameter), 50:50 PLGA with bovine serum albumin (BSA) (547 ± 62.2 μm), 85:15 PLGA (474 ± 52.6 μm), or 85:15 PLGA with BSA (469 ± 57.2 μm) were implanted into mouse dorsal skinfold window chambers, and longitudinal arteriolar diameter measurements were made in the presence of a vasodilator (10−4M adenosine) over 7 days. At the end of the 7-day period, the length density of all smooth muscle-coated microvessels was also determined. Implantation of the window chamber alone elicited a 22% increase in maximum arteriolar diameter. However, the addition of 85:15 and 50:50 PLGA microspheres, bearing either BSA or no protein, elicited a significant enhancement of this arteriogenic response, with final maximum arteriolar diameters ranging from 36 to 46% more than their original size. Interestingly, the influence of PLGA degradation on microvascular structure was limited to lumenal arteriolar expansion, as we observed no significant differences in length density of smooth muscle-coated microvessels. We conclude that the degradation of PLGA microspheres may elicit an arteriogenic response in subcutanteous tissue in the dorsal skinfold window chamber; however, it has no apparent effect on the total length of smooth muscle-coated microvasculature.
doi:10.1002/jbm.a.32209
PMCID: PMC3124864  PMID: 18980190
microcirculation; arteriogenesis; angiogenesis; poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic acid); biomaterials
8.  Proliferative capacity and osteogenic potential of novel dura mater stem cells on poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid 
The rational design of biomimetic structures for the regeneration of damaged or missing tissue is a fundamental principle of tissue engineering. Multiple variables must be optimized, ranging from the scaffold type to the selection and properties of implanted cell(s). In this study, the osteogenic potential of a novel stem cell was analyzed on biodegradable poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) bio-materials as a step toward creating new cell-materials constructs for bony regeneration. Dura mater stem cells (DSCs), isolated from rat dura mater, were evaluated and compared to bone marrow stem cells (BMSCs) for proliferative and differentiative properties in vitro. Experiments were carried out on both tissue culture plastic (TCP) and 2D planar films of PLGA. Proliferation of DSCs on both TCP and PLGA films increased over 21 days. Positive fold inductions in all five bone marker genes were observed at days 7, 14, 21 in all experimental samples compared with day 0 controls. DSCs demonstrated greater cell coverage and enhanced matrix staining on 2D PLGA films when compared with BMSCs. These cells can be isolated and expanded in culture and can subsequently attach, proliferate, and differentiate on both TCP and PLGA films to a greater extent than BMSCs. This suggests that DSCs are promising for cell-based bone tissue engineering therapies, particularly those applications involving regeneration of cranial bones.
doi:10.1002/jbm.a.31367
PMCID: PMC3124866  PMID: 17688255
biomimetic material; bone regeneration; bone tissue engineering; plasticity; dura mater
9.  Comparative effects of scaffold pore size, pore volume, and total void volume on cranial bone healing patterns using microsphere-based scaffolds 
Bony craniofacial deficits resulting from injury, disease, or birth defects remain a considerable clinical challenge. In this study, microsphere-based scaffold fabrication methods were use to study the respective effects of scaffold pore size, open pore volume, and total void volume fraction on osseous tissue infiltration and bone regeneration in a critical size rat cranial defect. To compare the healing effects of these parameters, three different scaffolds types were fabricated: solid 100 μm spheres, solid 500 μm spheres, and hollow 500 μm spheres. These constructs were implanted into surgically created rat calvarial defects. By 90-days post op, results of micro computed tomography (CT) analysis showed that all scaffolds generated similar amounts of new bone which was significantly greater than untreated controls. Interestingly, the spatial distribution of new bone within the defect area varied by scaffold group. MicroCT and histological analysis demonstrated healing restricted to the dural side in the hollow 500 μm group, whereas the solid 500 μm group demonstrated healing along the dural side and within the center of the defect. Solid 100 μm groups demonstrated healing along the dural layer, periosteal layer, and within the center of the defect. These results suggest that pore size and closed void volume may both play important roles in scaffold degradation patterns and associated bone healing.
doi:10.1002/jbm.a.32015
PMCID: PMC3122961  PMID: 18442122
bone tissue engineering; porosity; microsphere; scaffold; bone regeneration
10.  Collagen nanofibres are a biomimetic substrate for the serum-free osteogenic differentiation of human adipose stem cells 
Electrospinning has recently gained widespread attention as a process capable of producing nanoscale fibres that mimic native extracellular matrix. In this study, we compared the osteogenic differentiation behaviour of human adipose stem cells (ASCs) on a 3D nanofibre matrix of type I rat tail collagen (RTC) and a 2D RTC collagen-coated substrate, using a novel serum-free osteogenic medium. The serum-free medium significantly enhanced the numbers of proliferating cells in culture, compared to ASCs in traditional basal medium containing 10% animal serum, highlighting a potential clinical role for in vitro stem cell expansion. Osteogenic differentiation behaviour was assessed at days 7, 14 and 21 using quantitative real-time RT–PCR analysis of the osteogenic genes collagen I (Coll I), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), osteopontin (OP), osteonectin (ON), osteocalcin (OC) and core-binding factor-α (cbfa1). All genes were upregulated (>one-fold) in ASCs cultured on nanofibre scaffolds over 2D collagen coatings by day 21. Synthesis of mineralized extracellular matrix on the scaffolds was assessed on day 21 with Alizarin red staining. These studies demonstrate that 3D nanoscale morphology plays a critical role in regulating cell fate processes and in vitro osteogenic differentiation of ASCs under serum-free conditions.
doi:10.1002/term.85
PMCID: PMC3122962  PMID: 18493910
adipose stem cells; serum-free medium; nanofibres; electrospinning; bone tissue engineering
11.  The use of surface modified poly(glycerol-co-sebacic acid) in retinal transplantation 
Biomaterials  2009;31(8):2153-2162.
Retinal transplantation experiments have advanced considerably during recent years, but remaining diseased photoreceptor cells in the host retina and inner retinal cells in the transplant physically obstruct the development of graft-host neuronal contacts which are required for vision. Recently, we developed methods for the isolation of donor photoreceptor layers in vitro, and the selective removal of host photoreceptors in vivo using biodegradable elastomeric membranes composed of poly(glycerolco-sebacic acid) (PGS). Here, we report the surface modification of PGS membranes to promote the attachment of photoreceptor layers, allowing the resulting composite to be handled surgically as a single entity. PGS membranes were chemically modified with peptides containing an arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) extracellular matrix ligand sequence. PGS membranes were also coated with electrospun nanofiber meshes, containing laminin and poly(epsilon-caprolactone) (PCL). Following in vitro co-culture of biomaterial membranes with isolated embryonic retinal tissue, composites were tested for surgical handling and examined with hematoxylin and eosin staining and immunohistochemical markers. Electrospun nanofibers composed of laminin and PCL promoted sufficient cell adhesion for simultaneous transplantation of isolated photoreceptor layers and PGS membranes. Composites developed large populations of recoverin and rhodopsin labeled photoreceptors. Furthermore, ganglion cells, rod bipolar cells and AII amacrine cells were absent in co-cultured retinas as observed by neurofilament, PKC and parvalbumin labeling respectively. These results facilitate retinal transplantation experiments in which a composite graft composed of a biodegradable membrane adhered to an immature retina dominated by photoreceptor cells may be delivered in a single surgery, with the possibility of improving graft-host neuronal connections.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2009.11.074
PMCID: PMC3117293  PMID: 19962754
Cell adhesion; Elastomer; Laminin; Nanotopography; Polycaprolactone; Retina
12.  Harnessing Systems Biology Approaches to Engineer Functional Microvascular Networks 
Microvascular remodeling is a complex process that includes many cell types and molecular signals. Despite a continued growth in the understanding of signaling pathways involved in the formation and maturation of new blood vessels, approximately half of all compounds entering clinical trials will fail, resulting in the loss of much time, money, and resources. Most pro-angiogenic clinical trials to date have focused on increasing neovascularization via the delivery of a single growth factor or gene. Alternatively, a focus on the concerted regulation of whole networks of genes may lead to greater insight into the underlying physiology since the coordinated response is greater than the sum of its parts. Systems biology offers a comprehensive network view of the processes of angiogenesis and arteriogenesis that might enable the prediction of drug targets and whether or not activation of the targets elicits the desired outcome. Systems biology integrates complex biological data from a variety of experimental sources (-omics) and analyzes how the interactions of the system components can give rise to the function and behavior of that system. This review focuses on how systems biology approaches have been applied to microvascular growth and remodeling, and how network analysis tools can be utilized to aid novel pro-angiogenic drug discovery.
doi:10.1089/ten.teb.2009.0611
PMCID: PMC2946904  PMID: 20121415
13.  FTY720 Promotes Local Microvascular Network Formation and Regeneration of Cranial Bone Defects 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2010;16(6):1801-1809.
The calvarial bone microenvironment contains a unique progenitor niche that should be considered for therapeutic manipulation when designing regeneration strategies. Recently, our group demonstrated that cells isolated from the dura are multipotent and exhibit expansion potential and robust mineralization on biodegradable constructs in vitro. In this study, we evaluate the effectiveness of healing critical-sized cranial bone defects by enhancing microvascular network growth and host dura progenitor trafficking to the defect space pharmacologically by delivering drugs targeted to sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptors. We demonstrate that delivery of pharmacological agonists to (S1P) receptors S1P1 and S1P3 significantly increase bone ingrowth, total microvessel density, and smooth muscle cell investment on nascent microvessels within the defect space. Further, in vitro proliferation and migration studies suggest that selective activation of S1P3 promotes recruitment and growth of osteoblastic progenitors from the meningeal dura mater.
doi:10.1089/ten.tea.2009.0539
PMCID: PMC2949231  PMID: 20038198
14.  Phthalimide neovascular factor 1 (PNF1) modulates MT1-MMP activity in human microvascular endothelial cells 
Biotechnology and bioengineering  2009;103(4):796-807.
We are creating synthetic pharmaceuticals with angiogenic activity and potential to promote vascular invasion. We previously demonstrated that one of these molecules, phthalimide neovascular factor 1 (PNF1), significantly expands microvascular networks in vivo following sustained release from poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLAGA) films. In addition, to probe PNF1 mode-of-action, we recently applied a novel pathway-based compendium analysis to a multi-timepoint, controlled microarray dataset of PNF1-treated (versus control) human microvascular endothelial cells (HMVECs), and we identified induction of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and, subsequently, transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) signaling networks by PNF1. Here we validate this microarray data-set with quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis. Subsequently, we probe this dataset and identify three specific TGF-β-induced genes with regulation by PNF1 conserved over multiple timepoints—amyloid beta (A4) precursor protein (APP), early growth response 1 (EGR-1), and matrix metalloproteinase 14 (MMP14 or MT1-MMP)—that are also implicated in angiogenesis. We further focus on MMP14 given its unique role in angiogenesis, and we validate MT1-MMP modulation by PNF1 with an in vitro fluorescence assay that demonstrates the direct effects that PNF1 exerts on functional metalloproteinase activity. We also utilize endothelial cord formation in collagen gels to show that PNF1-induced stimulation of endothelial cord network formation in vitro is in some way MT1-MMP-dependent. Ultimately, this new network analysis of our transcriptional footprint characterizing PNF1 activity 1–48 h post-supplementation in HMVECs coupled with corresponding validating experiments suggests a key set of a few specific targets that are involved in PNF1 mode-of-action and important for successful promotion of the neovascularization that we have observed by the drug in vivo.
doi:10.1002/bit.22310
PMCID: PMC2711776  PMID: 19326468
Network analysis; transcriptional profiling; angiogenesis; matrix metalloproteinase; small molecule; drug discovery
15.  Expansion of microvascular networks in vivo by phthalimide neovascular factor 1 (PNF1) 
Biomaterials  2008;29(35):4698-4708.
Phthalimide neovascular factor (PNF1, formerly SC-3-149) is a potent stimulator of proangiogenic signaling pathways in endothelial cells. In this study, we evaluated the in vivo effects of sustained PNF1 release to promote ingrowth and expansion of microvascular networks surrounding biomaterial implants. The dorsal skinfold window chamber was used to evaluate the structural remodeling response of the local microvasculature. PNF1 was released from poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLAGA) films, and a transport model was utilized to predict PNF1 penetration into the surrounding tissue. PNF1 significantly expanded microvascular networks within a 2 mm radius from implants after 3 and 7 days by increasing microvessel length density and lumenal diameter of local arterioles and venules. Staining of histological sections with CD11b showed enhanced recruitment of circulating white blood cells, including monocytes, which are critical for the process of vessel enlargement through arteriogenesis. As PNF1 has been shown to modulate MT1-MMP, a facilitator of CCL2 dependent leukocyte transmigration, aspects of window chamber experiments were repeated in CCR2−/− (CCL2 receptor) mouse chimeras to more fully explore the critical nature of monocyte recruitment on the therapeutic benefits of PNF1 function in vivo.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.08.029
PMCID: PMC2885000  PMID: 18804278
Small molecule delivery; Controlled release; Microvascular remodeling; Monocyte recruitment
16.  Laminin Nanofiber Meshes That Mimic Morphological Properties and Bioactivity of Basement Membranes 
The basement membrane protein, laminin I, has been used broadly as a planar two-dimensional film or in a three-dimensional form as a reconstituted basement membrane gel such as Matrigel to support cellular attachment, growth, and differentiation in vitro. In basement membranes in vivo, laminin exhibits a fibrillar morphology, highlighting the electrospinning process as an ideal method to recreate such fibrous substrates in vitro. Electrospinning was employed to fabricate meshes of murine laminin I nanofibers (LNFs) with fiber size, geometry, and porosity of authentic basement membranes. Purified laminin I was solubilized and electrospun in parametric studies of fiber diameters as a function of polymer solution concentration, collecting distance, and flow rate. Resulting fiber diameters ranged from 90 to 300 nm with mesh morphologies containing beads. Unlike previously described nanofibers (NFs) synthesized from proteins such as collagen, meshes of LNFs retain their structural features when wetted and do not require fixation by chemical crosslinking, which often destroys cell attachment and other biological activity. The LNF meshes maintained their geometry for at least 2 days in culture without chemical crosslinking. PC12 cells extended neurites without nerve growth factor stimulation on LNF substrates. Additionally, LNFs significantly enhance both the rate and quantity of attachment of human adipose stem cells (ASCs) compared to laminin films. ASCs were viable and maintained attachment to LNF meshes in serum-free media for at least 3 days in culture and extended neurite-like processes after 24 h in serum-free media conditions without media additives to induce differentiation. LNF meshes are a novel substrate for cell studies in vitro, whose properties may be an excellent scaffold material for delivering cells in tissue engineering applications in vivo.
doi:10.1089/ten.tec.2007.0366
PMCID: PMC2802717  PMID: 18844601
17.  Laminin Nanofiber Meshes That Mimic Morphological Properties and Bioactivity of Basement Membranes 
The basement membrane protein, laminin I, has been used broadly as a planar two-dimensional film or in a three-dimensional form as a reconstituted basement membrane gel such as Matrigel to support cellular attachment, growth, and differentiation in vitro. In basement membranes in vivo, laminin exhibits a fibrillar morphology, highlighting the electrospinning process as an ideal method to recreate such fibrous substrates in vitro. Electrospinning was employed to fabricate meshes of murine laminin I nanofibers (LNFs) with fiber size, geometry, and porosity of authentic basement membranes. Purified laminin I was solubilized and electrospun in parametric studies of fiber diameters as a function of polymer solution concentration, collecting distance, and flow rate. Resulting fiber diameters ranged from 90 to 300 nm with mesh morphologies containing beads. Unlike previously described nanofibers (NFs) synthesized from proteins such as collagen, meshes of LNFs retain their structural features when wetted and do not require fixation by chemical crosslinking, which often destroys cell attachment and other biological activity. The LNF meshes maintained their geometry for at least 2 days in culture without chemical crosslinking. PC12 cells extended neurites without nerve growth factor stimulation on LNF substrates. Additionally, LNFs significantly enhance both the rate and quantity of attachment of human adipose stem cells (ASCs) compared to laminin films. ASCs were viable and maintained attachment to LNF meshes in serum-free media for at least 3 days in culture and extended neurite-like processes after 24 h in serum-free media conditions without media additives to induce differentiation. LNF meshes are a novel substrate for cell studies in vitro, whose properties may be an excellent scaffold material for delivering cells in tissue engineering applications in vivo.
doi:10.1089/ten.tec.2007.0366
PMCID: PMC2802717  PMID: 18844601
18.  Novel pathway compendium analysis elucidates mechanism of pro-angiogenic synthetic small molecule 
Bioinformatics  2008;24(20):2384-2390.
Motivation: Computational techniques have been applied to experimental datasets to identify drug mode-of-action. A shortcoming of existing approaches is the requirement of large reference databases of compound expression profiles. Here, we developed a new pathway-based compendium analysis that couples multi-timepoint, controlled microarray data for a single compound with systems-based network analysis to elucidate drug mechanism more efficiently.
Results: We applied this approach to a transcriptional regulatory footprint of phthalimide neovascular factor 1 (PNF1)—a novel synthetic small molecule that exhibits significant in vitro endothelial potency—spanning 1–48 h post-supplementation in human micro-vascular endothelial cells (HMVEC) to comprehensively interrogate PNF1 effects. We concluded that PNF1 first induces tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) signaling pathway function which in turn affects transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) signaling. These results are consistent with our previous observations of PNF1-directed TGF-β signaling at 24 h, including differential regulation of TGF-β-induced matrix metalloproteinase 14 (MMP14/MT1-MMP) which is implicated in angiogenesis. Ultimately, we illustrate how our pathway-based compendium analysis more efficiently generates hypotheses for compound mechanism than existing techniques.
Availability: The microarray data generated as part of this study are available in the Gene Expression Omnibus (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/geo/).
Contact: botchwey@virginia.edu; papin@virginia.edu
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn451
PMCID: PMC2562016  PMID: 18718940
19.  Sustained release of sphingosine 1-phosphate for therapeutic arteriogenesis and bone tissue engineering 
Biomaterials  2008;29(19):2869-2877.
Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) is a bioactive phospholipid that impacts migration, proliferation, and survival in diverse cells types, including endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, and osteoblast-like cells. In this study, we investigated the effects of sustained release of S1P on microvascular remodeling and associated bone defect healing in vivo. The murine dorsal skinfold window chamber model was used to evaluate the structural remodeling response of the microvasculature. Our results demonstrated that 1:400 (w/w) loading and subsequent sustained release of S1P from poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLAGA) significantly enhanced lumenal diameter expansion of arterioles and venules after 3 and 7 days. Incorporation of 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) at day 7 revealed significant increases in mural cell proliferation in response to S1P delivery. Additionally, three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds loaded with S1P (1:400) were implanted into critical-size rat calvarial defects and healing of bony defects was assessed by radiograph x-ray, microcomputed tomography (μCT), and histology. Sustained release of S1P significantly increased the formation of new bone after 2 and 6 weeks of healing and histological results suggest increased numbers of blood vessels in the defect site. Taken together, these experiments support the use of S1P delivery for promoting microvessel diameter expansion and improving the healing outcomes of tissue-engineered therapies.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.03.017
PMCID: PMC2711780  PMID: 18405965
tissue engineering; controlled drug release; phospholipids; drug delivery; bone healing; growth factors
20.  Engineering vascularized tissues using natural and synthetic small molecules 
Organogenesis  2008;4(4):215-227.
Vascular growth and remodeling are complex processes that depend on the proper spatial and temporal regulation of many different signaling molecules to form functional vascular networks. The ability to understand and regulate these signals is an important clinical need with the potential to treat a wide variety of disease pathologies. Current approaches have focused largely on the delivery of proteins to promote neovascularization of ischemic tissues, most notably VEGF and FGF. Although great progress has been made in this area, results from clinical trials are disappointing and safer and more effective approaches are required. To this end, biological agents used for therapeutic neovascularization must be explored beyond the current well-investigated classes. This review focuses on potential pathways for novel drug discovery, utilizing small molecule approaches to induce and enhance neovascularization. Specifically, four classes of new and existing molecules are discussed, including transcriptional activators, receptor selective agonists and antagonists, natural product-derived small molecules, and novel synthetic small molecules.
PMCID: PMC2634326  PMID: 19337401
drug discovery; tissue engineering; angiogenesis; arteriogenesis; vascular development; small molecule; neovascularization; ischemic tissue disease

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