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author:("sheen, Dima")
1.  Genetically Modified Mesenchymal Stem Cells Induce Mechanically Stable Posterior Spine Fusion 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2010;16(12):3679-3686.
Most spine fusion procedures involve the use of prosthetic fixation devices combined with autologous bone grafts rather than biological treatment. We had shown that spine fusion could be achieved by injection of bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2)-expressing mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into the paraspinal muscle. In this study, we hypothesized that posterior spinal fusion achieved using genetically modified MSCs would be mechanically comparable to that realized using a mechanical fixation. BMP-2-expressing MSCs were injected bilaterally into paravertebral muscles of the mouse lumbar spine. In one control group BMP-2 expression was inhibited. Microcomputed tomography and histological analyses were used to evaluate bone formation. For comparison, a group of mouse spines were bilaterally fused with stainless steel pins. The harvested spines were later tested using a custom four-point bending apparatus and structural bending stiffness was estimated. To assess the degree to which MSC vertebral fusion was targeted and to quantify the effects of fusion on adjacent spinal segments, images of the loaded spine curvature were analyzed to extract rigidity of the individual spinal segments. Bone bridging of the targeted vertebrae was observed in the BMP-2-expressing MSC group, whereas no bone formation was noted in any control group. The biomechanical tests showed that MSC-mediated spinal fusion was as effective as stainless steel pin-based fusion and significantly more rigid than the control groups. Local analysis showed that the distribution of stiffness in the MSC-based fusion group was similar to that in the steel pin fusion group, with the majority of spinal stiffness contributed by the targeted fusion at L3–L5. Our findings demonstrate that MSC-induced spinal fusion can convey biomechanical rigidity to a targeted segment that is comparable to that achieved using an instrumental fixation.
PMCID: PMC2991214  PMID: 20618082
2.  The Effect of Simulated Microgravity on Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Cultured in an Osteogenic Differentiation System: A Bioinformatics Study 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2010;16(11):3403-3412.
One proposed strategy for bone regeneration involves ex vivo tissue engineering, accomplished using bone-forming cells, biodegradable scaffolds, and dynamic culture systems, with the goal of three-dimensional tissue formation. Rotating wall vessel bioreactors generate simulated microgravity conditions ex vivo, which lead to cell aggregation. Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) have been extensively investigated and shown to possess the potential to differentiate into several cell lineages. The goal of the present study was to evaluate the effect of simulated microgravity on all genes expressed in hMSCs, with the underlying hypothesis that many important pathways are affected during culture within a rotating wall vessel system. Gene expression was analyzed using a whole genome microarray and clustering with the aid of the National Institutes of Health's Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Discovery database and gene ontology analysis. Our analysis showed 882 genes that were downregulated and 505 genes that were upregulated after exposure to simulated microgravity. Gene ontology clustering revealed a wide variety of affected genes with respect to cell compartment, biological process, and signaling pathway clusters. The data sets showed significant decreases in osteogenic and chondrogenic gene expression and an increase in adipogenic gene expression, indicating that ex vivo adipose tissue engineering may benefit from simulated microgravity. This finding was supported by an adipogenic differentiation assay. These data are essential for further understanding of ex vivo tissue engineering using hMSCs.
PMCID: PMC2971652  PMID: 20807102

Results 1-2 (2)