Biomaterials; cell-material interaction; drug delivery; multifunctional coatings; nanoporous materials
Acute kidney injury is a devastating syndrome that afflicts over 2,000,000 people in the US per year, with an associated mortality of greater than 70% in severe cases. Unfortunately, standard-of-care treatments are not sufficient for modifying the course of disease. Many groups have explored the use of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) for the treatment of AKI because BMSCs have been shown to possess unique anti-inflammatory, cytoprotective, and regenerative properties in vitro and in vivo. It is yet unresolved whether the primary mechanisms controlling BMSC therapy in AKI depend on direct cell infusion, or whether BMSC-secreted factors alone are sufficient for mitigating the injury. Here we show that BMSC-secreted factors are capable of providing a survival benefit to rats subjected to cisplatin-induced AKI. We observed that when BMSC-conditioned medium (BMSC-CM) is administered intravenously, it prevents tubular apoptosis and necrosis and ameliorates AKI. In addition, we observed that BMSC-CM causes IL-10 upregulation in treated animals, which is important to animal survival and protection of the kidney. In all, these results demonstrate that BMSC-secreted factors are capable of providing support without cell transplantation, and the IL-10 increase seen in BMSC-CM-treated animals correlates with attenuation of severe AKI.
Immunomodulatory human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSC) have been incorporated into therapeutic protocols to treat secondary inflammatory responses post-spinal cord injury (SCI) in animal models. However, limitations with direct hMSC implantation approaches may prevent effective translation for therapeutic development of hMSC infusion into post-SCI treatment protocols. To circumvent these limitations, we investigated the efficacy of alginate microencapsulation in developing an implantable vehicle for hMSC delivery. Viability and secretory function were maintained within the encapsulated hMSC population, and hMSC secreted anti-inflammatory cytokines upon induction with the pro-inflammatory factors, TNF-α and IFN-γ. Furthermore, encapsulated hMSC modulated inflammatory macrophage function both in-vitro and in-vivo, even in the absence of direct hMSC-macrophage cell contact and promoted the alternative M2 macrophage phenotype. In-vitro, this was evident by a reduction in macrophage iNOS expression with a concomitant increase in CD206, a marker for M2 macrophages. Finally, Sprague-Dawley rat spinal cords were injured at vertebra T10 via a weight drop model (NYU model) and encapsulated hMSC were administered via lumbar puncture 24 hours post- injury. Encapsulated hMSC localized primarily in the cauda equina of the spinal cord. Histological assessment of spinal cord tissue 7 days post SCI indicated that as few as 5×104 encapsulated hMSC yielded increased numbers of CD206-expressing macrophages, consistent with our in-vitro studies. The combined findings support the inclusion of immobilized hMSC in post-CNS trauma tissue protective therapy, and suggest that conversion of macrophages to the M2 subset is responsible, at least in part, for tissue protection.
Ligands of the thiazolidinedione (TZD) class of compounds, pioglitazone (Actos™) and rosiglitazone (Avandia™) are currently approved for treatment of type 2 diabetes and are known to bind to the PPAR-γ nuclear receptor subtype. Recent evidence suggesting PPAR-γ independent action of the TZDs led to the discovery of a novel integral outer mitochondrial membrane protein, mitoNEET. In spite of the several reported X-ray crystal structures of the unbound form of mitoNEET, the location and nature of the mitoNEET ligand binding sites (LBS) remain unknown. In this study, a molecular blind docking (BD) method was used to discover potential mitoNEET LBS and novel ligands, utilizing the program AutoDock Vina (v 1.0.2). Validation of BD was performed on the PPAR-γ receptor (PDB ID: 1ZGY) with the test compound rosiglitazone, demonstrating that the binding conformation of rosiglitazone determined by AutoDock Vina matches well with that of the cocrystallized ligand (root mean square deviation of the heavy atoms 1.45 Å). The locations and a general ligand binding interaction model for the LBS were determined, leading to the discovery of novel mitoNEET ligands. An in vitro fluorescence binding assay utilizing purified recombinant mitoNEET protein was used to determine the binding affinity of a predicted mitoNEET ligand, and the data obtained is in good agreement with AutoDock Vina results. The discovery of potential mitoNEET ligand binding sites and novel ligands, opens up the possibility for detailed structural studies of mitoNEET–ligand complexes, as well as rational design of novel ligands specifically targeted for mitoNEET.
Mitoneet; Autodock; Docking; Fluorescence; Iron–sulfur; Thiazolidinedione
With advances in immunology and cancer biology, there is an unmet need for increasingly sensitive systems to monitor the expression of specific cell markers for the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic tools. To address this challenge, we have applied a highly sensitive labeling method that translates antigen-antibody recognition processes into DNA detection event that can be greatly amplified via isothermal Rolling Circle Amplification (RCA). By merging the single-molecule detection power of RCA reaction with microfluidic technology we were able to demonstrate that identification of specific protein markers can be achieved on tumor cell surface in miniaturized nano-liter reaction droplets. Furthermore, this combined approach of signal amplification in a microfluidic format could extend the utility of existing methods by reducing sample and reagent consumption and enhancing the sensitivities and specificities for various applications, including early diagnosis of cancer.
Microfluidic droplets; RCA; single-molecule detection; antigen-antibody; tumor markers
The 110,000 patients currently on the transplant waiting list reflect the critical shortage of viable donor organs. However, a large pool of unused organs, from donors after cardiac death (DCD) that are disqualified because of extensive ischemic injury, may prove transplantable after machine perfusion treatment, fundamentally impacting the availability of treatment for end-stage organ failure. Machine perfusion is an ex-vivo organ preservation and treatment procedure that has the capacity to quantitatively evaluate and resuscitate cadaveric organs for transplantation.
To diagnose whether an organ was fresh or ischemic, an initial assessment of liver quality was conducted via dynamic discriminant analysis. Subsequently, to determine whether the organs were sufficiently viable for successful implantation, fitness indices for transplantation were calculated based on squared prediction errors (SPE) for fresh and ischemic livers.
With just three perfusate metabolites, glucose, urea and lactate, the developed MPLSDA model distinguished livers as fresh or ischemic with 90% specificity. The SPE analyses revealed that fresh livers with SPEF < 10.03 and WI livers with SPEWI < 3.92 yield successful transplantation with 95% specificity.
The statistical methods used here can discriminate between fresh and ischemic livers based on simple metabolic indicators measured during perfusion. The result is a predictive fitness index for transplantation of rat livers procured after cardiac death. The translational implications of this study are that any donor organ procured from controlled, but most especially from uncontrolled cardiac death donors, will be objectively assessed and its recovery monitored over time, minimizing the critical loss of otherwise viable organs.
Transplantation index; Principal component analysis (PCA); Partial least squares (PLS); Extracorporeal liver perfusion; Donors after cardiac death
Liver donor shortages stimulate the development of strategies that incorporate damaged organs into the donor pool. Herein we present a simplified machine perfusion system without the need for oxygen carriers or temperature control, which we validated in a model of orthotopic liver transplantation.
Rat livers were procured and subnormothermically perfused with supplemented Williams E medium for 3 hours, then transplanted into healthy recipients (Fresh-SNMP group). Outcome was compared with static cold stored organs (UW-Control group). In addition, a rat liver model of donation after cardiac death was adapted using a 60-minute warm ischemic period, after which the grafts were either transplanted directly (WI group) or subnormothermically perfused and transplanted (WI-SNMP group).
One-month survival was 100% in the Fresh-SNMP and UW-Control groups, 83.3% in the WI-SNMP group and 0% in the WI group. Clinical parameters, postoperative blood work and histology did not differ significantly between survivors.
This work demonstrates for the first time in an orthotopic transplantation model that ischemically damaged livers can be regenerated effectively using practical subnormothermic machine perfusion without oxygen carriers.
Liver; Transplantation; Rat; Machine; Perfusion; Preservation; Ischemia; Donor; Shortage
Background & Aims
Bone marrow stromal cells (MSCs) are being evaluated as a cellular therapeutic for immune-mediated diseases. We investigated the effects of MSCs in mice with chemically induced colitis and determined the effects CD11b+ cells, based on the hypothesis that MSCs increase numbers of regulatory T cells.
Colitis was induced in mice using trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS); symptoms were monitored as function of MSC delivery. An immunomodulatory response was determined by measuring numbers of regulatory T cells in mesenteric lymph nodes. In vitro co-cultures were used to assess the interaction of MSCs with regulatory T cells and CD11b+ cells; findings were supported using near-infrared tracking of MSCs in vivo. We chemically and surgically depleted splenic CD11b+ cells before colitis was induced with TNBS to monitor the effects of MSCs. We adoptively transferred CD11b+ cells that were co-cultured with MSCs into mice with colitis.
Intravenous grafts of MSCs prevented colitis and increased survival times of mice. Numbers of Foxp3+ regulatory T cells increased in mesenteric lymph nodes in mice given MSCs. MSCs increased the numbers of Foxp3+ splenocytes in a CD11b+ cell-dependent manner. Transplanted MSCs co-localized near splenic CD11b+ cells in vivo. Loss of CD11b+ cells eliminated the therapeutic effect of MSCs. MSCs increased the anti-colitis effects of CD11b+ cells in mice.
MSC transplants, delivered by specific parameters, reduce colitis in mice. Interactions between MSC and CD11b+ Treg cells might be used to develop potency assays for MSCs, to identify non-responders to MSC therapy, and to create new cell grafts that are composed of CD11b+ cells pre-conditioned by MSCs.
Crohn’s Disease; Mesenchymal Stem Cells; Monocyte; Imaging
Trauma such as burns induces a hypermetabolic response associated with altered central carbon and nitrogen metabolism. The liver plays a key role in these metabolic changes; however, studies to date have evaluated the metabolic state of liver using ex vivo perfusions or isotope labeling techniques targeted to specific pathways. Herein, we developed a unique mass balance approach to characterize the metabolic state of the liver in situ, and used it to quantify the metabolic changes to experimental burn injury in rats. Rats received a sham (control uninjured), 20% or 40% total body surface area (TBSA) scald burn, and were allowed to develop a hypermetabolic response. One day prior to evaluation, all animals were fasted to deplete glycogen stores. Four days post-burn, blood flow rates in major vessels of the liver were measured, and blood samples harvested. We combined measurements of metabolite concentrations and flow rates in the major vessels entering and leaving the liver with a steady-state mass balance model to generate a quantitative picture of the metabolic state of liver. The main findings were: (1) Sham-burned animals exhibited a gluconeogenic pattern, consistent with the fasted state; (2) the 20% TBSA burn inhibited gluconeogenesis and exhibited glycolytic-like features with very few other significant changes; (3) the 40% TBSA burn, by contrast, further enhanced gluconeogenesis and also increased amino acid extraction, urea cycle reactions, and several reactions involved in oxidative phosphorylation. These results suggest that increasing the severity of injury does not lead to a simple dose-dependent metabolic response, but rather leads to qualitatively different responses.
hypermetabolism; metabolic flux analysis; liver; trauma and burns; rat; in vivo
Tissue-engineered in vitro models have the potential to be used for investigating inflammation in the complex microenvironment found in vivo. We have developed an in vitro model of hepatic tissue that facilitates real-time monitoring of endothelium activation in liver tissue. This was achieved by creating a layered coculture model in which hepatocytes were embedded in collagen gel and a reporter clone of endothelial cells, which synthesizes green fluorescent protein in response to nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) activation, was overlaid on top of the gel. The efficacy of our approach was established by monitoring in real time the dynamics of NF-κB-regulated fluorescence in response to tumor necrosis factor α. Our studies revealed that endothelial cells in coculture with hepatocytes exhibited a similar NF-κB-mediated fluorescence to both pulse and step stimulation of lipopolysaccharide. By contrast, endothelial cells in monoculture displayed enhanced NF-κB-regulated fluorescence to step in comparison to pulse lipopolysaccharide stimulation. The NF-κB-mediated fluorescence correlated with endothelial cell expression of NF-κB-regulated genes such as intercellular adhesion molecule 1, vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, and E-Selectin, as well as with leukocyte adhesion. These findings suggest that our model provides a powerful platform for investigating hepatic endothelium activation in real time.
With over 110,000 patients waiting for organ transplantation, the current crisis in organ transplantation is based on a lack of donors after brain-death (DBD). A very large alternative pool of donor organs that remain untapped are the donors after cardiac death (DCD), recovered after cardiac activity has ceased and therefore sustained some ischemic injury. Machine perfusion has been proposed as a novel modality of organ preservation and treatment to render such cadaveric organs, and in particular livers, transplantable. Two key issues that remain unaddressed are how to assess whether a DCD liver is damaged beyond repair, and whether machine perfusion has rendered an injured organ sufficiently viable for transplantation. In this work, we present a metabolic analysis of the transient responses of cadaveric rat livers during normothermic machine perfusion (NMP), and develop an index of ischemia that enables evaluation of the organ ischemic injury level. Further, we perform a discriminant analysis to construct a classification algorithm with >0.98 specificity to identify whether a given perfused liver is ischemic or fresh, in effect a precursor for an index of transplantability and a basis for the use of statistical process control measures for automated feedback control of treatment of ischemic injury in DCD livers. The analyses yield an index based on squared prediction error (SPE) as log(SPE) >1.35 indicating ischemia. The differences between metabolic functions of fresh and ischemic livers during perfusion are outlined and the metabolites that varied significantly for ischemic livers are identified as ornithine, arginine, albumin and tyrosine.
The inflammatory response initiated upon burn injury is also associated with extensive metabolic adjustments. While there is a significant body of literature on the characterization of these changes at the metabolite level, little is known on the mechanisms of induction, especially with respect to the role of gene expression. We have comprehensively analyzed changes in gene expression in rat livers during the first 7 d after 20% total body surface area burn injury using Affymetrix microarrays. A total of 740 genes were significantly altered in expression at 1, 2, 4, and 7 d after burn injury compared to sham-burn controls. Functional classification based on gene ontology terms indicated that metabolism, transport, signaling, and defense/inflammation response accounted for more than 70% of the significantly altered genes. Fisher least-significant difference post-hoc testing of the 740 differentially expressed genes indicated that over 60% of the genes demonstrated significant changes in expression either on d 1 or on d 7 postburn. The gene expression trends were corroborated by biochemical measurements of triglycerides and fatty acids 24 h postburn but not at later time points. This suggests that fatty acids are used, at least in part, in the liver as energy substrates for the first 4 d after injury. Our data also suggest that long-term regulation of energy substrate utilization in the liver following burn injury is primarily at the posttranscriptional level. Last, relevance networks of significantly expressed genes indicate the involvement of key small molecules in the hepatic response to 20% total body surface area burn injury.
liver gene expression; 20% burn injury; microarrays; energy expenditure
Advances in systems biology and bioinformatics have highlighted that no cell population is truly uniform and that stochastic behavior is an inherent property of many biological systems. As a result, bulk measurements can be misleading even when particular care has been taken to isolate a single cell type, and measurements averaged over multiple cell populations in a tissue can be as misleading as the average height at an elementary school. There is a growing need for experimental techniques that can provide a combination of single cell resolution, large cell populations, and the ability to track cells over multiple time points. In this article, a microwell array cytometry platform was developed to meet this need and investigate the heterogeneity and stochasticity of cell behavior on a single cell basis. The platform consisted of a microfabricated device with high-density arrays of cell-sized micro-wells and custom software for automated image processing and data analysis. As a model experimental system, we used primary hepatocytes labeled with fluorescent probes sensitive to mitochondrial membrane potential and free radical generation. The cells were exposed to oxidative stress and the responses were dynamically monitored for each cell. The resulting data was then analyzed using bioinformatics techniques such as hierarchical and k-means clustering to visualize the data and identify interesting features. The results showed that clustering of the dynamic data not only enhanced comparisons between the treatment groups but also revealed a number of distinct response patterns within each treatment group. Heat-maps with hierarchical clustering also provided a data-rich complement to survival curves in a dose response experiment. The microwell array cytometry platform was shown to be powerful, easy to use, and able to provide a detailed picture of the heterogeneity present in cell responses to oxidative stress. We believe that our microwell array cytometry platform will have general utility for a wide range of questions related to cell population heterogeneity, biological stochasticity, and cell behavior under stress conditions.
cytometry; microfabrication; microwells; hepatocytes; mitochondria; membrane potential; free radicals
Living cells are remarkably complex. To unravel this complexity, living-cell assays have been developed that allow delivery of experimental stimuli and measurement of the resulting cellular responses. High-throughput adaptations of these assays, known as living-cell microarrays, which are based on microtiter plates, high-density spotting, microfabrication, and microfluidics technologies, are being developed for two general applications: (a) to screen large-scale chemical and genomic libraries and (b) to systematically investigate the local cellular microenvironment. These emerging experimental platforms offer exciting opportunities to rapidly identify genetic determinants of disease, to discover modulators of cellular function, and to probe the complex and dynamic relationships between cells and their local environment.
high-throughput screening; cell microarrays; reverse transfection; microfabrication; microfluidics; single-cell analysis
The objective of identifying transcriptional regulatory networks is to provide insights as to what governs an organism’s long term response to external stimuli. We explore the coupling of the living cell array (LCA), a novel microfluidics device which utilizes fluorescence levels as a surrogate for transcription factor activity with reverse Euler deconvolution (RED) a computational technique proposed in this work to decipher the dynamics of the interactions. It is hypothesized that these two methods will allow us to first assess the underlying network architecture associated with the transcription factor network as well as specific mechanistic consequences of transcription factor activation such as receptor dimerization or tolerance.
The overall approach identifies evidence of time-lagged response which may be indicative of mechanisms such as receptor dimerization, tolerance mechanisms which are evidence of various receptor mediated dynamics, and feedback loops which regulate the response of an organism to changing environmental conditions. Furthermore, through the exploration of multiple network architectures, we were able to obtain insights as to the role each transcription factor plays in the overall response and their overall redundancy in the organism’s response to external perturbations. Thus, the LCA along with the proposed analysis technique is a valuable tool for identifying the possible architectures and mechanisms underlying the transcriptional response.
Systems biology; Network reconstruction
Background & Aims
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection affects 3% of the world population and is the leading cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. Current standard of care is effective in only 50% of the patients, poorly tolerated, and associated with significant side effects and viral resistance. Recently, our group and others demonstrated that the HCV lifecycle is critically dependent on host lipid metabolism and that its production is metabolically modulated.
The JFH1/Huh7.5.1 full lifecycle model of HCV was used to study the antiviral effects of naringenin on viral replication, assembly, and production. Activation of PPARα was elucidated using GAL4-PPARα fusion reporters, PPRE reporters, qRT-PCR, and metabolic studies. Metabolic results were confirmed in primary human hepatocytes.
We demonstrate that the grapefruit flavonoid naringenin dose-dependently inhibits HCV production without affecting intracellular levels of the viral RNA or protein. We show that naringenin blocks the assembly of intracellular infectious viral particles, upstream of viral egress. This antiviral effect is mediated in part by the activation of PPARα, leading to a decrease in VLDL production without causing hepatic lipid accumulation in Huh7.5.1 cells and primary human hepatocytes. Long-term treatment with naringenin leads to a rapid 1.4 log reduction in HCV, similar to 1000 U of interferon. During the washout period, HCV levels returned to normal, consistent with our proposed mechanism of action.
The data demonstrates that naringenin is a non-toxic assembly inhibitor of HCV and that other PPARα agonists play a similar role in blocking viral production. The combination of naringenin with STAT-C agents could potentially bring a rapid reduction in HCV levels during the early treatment phase, an outcome associated with sustained virological response.
HCV; Naringenin; Lipid metabolism; PPARα
The dynamics of gene expression are fundamental to the coordination of cellular responses. Measurement of temporal gene expression patterns is currently limited to destructive low-throughput techniques such as northern blotting, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and DNA microarrays. We report a scalable experimental platform that combines microfluidic addressability with quantitative live cell imaging of fluorescent protein transcriptional reporters to achieve real-time characterization of gene expression programs in living cells. Integrated microvalve arrays control row-seeding and column-stimulation of 256 nanoliter-scale bioreactors to create a high density matrix of stimulus–response experiments. We demonstrate the approach in the context of hepatic inflammation by acquiring ~5000 single-time-point measurements in each automated and unattended experiment. Experiments can be assembled in hours and perform the equivalent of months of conventional experiments. By enabling efficient investigation of dynamic gene expression programs, this technology has the potential to make significant impacts in basic science, drug development, and clinical medicine.
Fulminant hepatic failure (FHF) is a serious clinical condition that is associated with high mortality. There is evidence that FHF is an inflammatory disease, which is supported clinically by elevated serum levels of cytokines. In an effort to develop hepatocytes with additional functions for use in our bioartificial liver (BAL) device, we focused on interleukin-1 (IL-1) blockade as a therapeutic modality. Primary porcine hepatocytes were isolated from the livers of miniature swine and then transfected with an adenoviral vector encoding human interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (AdIL-1Ra). The transfected hepatocytes secreted human IL-1Ra. These transfected hepatocytes were incorporated into a flat-plate BAL device to evaluate their efficacy in treating D-galactosamine (GalN)-induced FHF in a rat model. After extracorporeal perfusion with the BAL device containing the transfected hepatocytes, there were significant reductions in the plasma levels of hepatic enzymes (aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase) and cytokines (IL-1 and IL-6), indicating a beneficial effect. Animal survival was significantly improved in the treated group compared to the control group. These experiments demonstrate that combining inflammatory cytokine blockade with a functional BAL device may be an effective therapeutic option in the treatment of FHF.
Liver transplantation is the treatment of choice for many patients with fulminant hepatic failure (FHF). A major limitation of this treatment is the lack of available donors. An optimally functioning bio-artificial liver (BAL) device has the potential to provide critical hepatic support to patients with FHF. In this study, we examined the efficacy of combining interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor blockade with the synthetic function of hepatocytes in a BAL device for the treatment of FHF.
Materials and methods
We injected an adenoviral vector encoding human IL-1 receptor antagonist (AdIL-1Ra) into the liver of D-galactosamine (GalN) intoxicated rats via the portal vein. We also transfected primary rat hepatocytes and reversibly immortalized human hepatocytes (TTNT cells) with AdIL-1Ra, and incorporated these transfected hepatocytes into our flat-plate BAL device and evaluated their efficacy in our GalN-induced FHF rat model after 10 h of extracorporeal perfusion.
Rats injected with AdIL-1Ra showed significant reductions in the plasma levels of hepatic enzymes. Primary rat hepatocytes transfected with AdIL-1Ra secreted IL-1Ra without losing their original synthetic function. Incorporating these cells into the BAL device and testing in a GalN-induced FHF rat model resulted in significant reductions in plasma IL-6 levels and significantly improved animal survival. Incorporating the AdIL-1Ra transfected TTNT cells in the BAL device and testing in the GalN-induced FHF rat model resulted in significantly reduced plasma IL-6 levels, and a trend toward improved survival was seen.
Hepatocytes producing IL-1Ra are a promising cell source for BAL devices in the treatment of GalN-induced FHF.
fulminant hepatic failure; primary rat hepatocytes; immortalized human hepatocytes; interleukin-1 receptor antagonist; bio-artificial liver device
Severe injury activates many stress-related and inflammatory pathways that can lead to a systemic hyper-metabolic state. Prior studies using perfused hypermetabolic rat livers have identified intrinsic metabolic flux changes that were not dependent upon the continual presence of elevated stress hormones and substrate loads. We investigated the hypothesis that such changes may be due to persistent alterations in gene expression. A systemic hypermetabolic response was induced in rats by applying a moderate burn injury followed 2 days later by cecum ligation and puncture (CLP) to produce sepsis. Control animals received a sham-burn followed by CLP, or a sham-burn followed by sham-CLP. Two days after CLP, livers were analyzed for gene expression changes using DNA microarrays and for meta-bolism alterations by ex vivo perfusion coupled with Meta-bolic Flux Analysis. Burn injury prior to CLP increased fluxes while decreases in gene expression levels were observed. Conversely, CLP alone significantly increased metabolic gene expression, but decreased many of the corresponding meta-bolic fluxes. Burn injury combined with CLP led to the most dramatic changes, where concurrent changes in fluxes and gene expression levels occurred in about 1/3 of the reactions. The data are consistent with the notion that in this model, burn injury prior to CLP increased fluxes through post-translational mechanisms with little contribution of gene expression, while CLP treatment up-regulated the metabolic machinery by transcriptional mechanisms. Overall, these data show that mRNA changes measured at a single time point by DNA microarray analysis do not reliably predict metabolic flux changes in perfused livers.
hypermetabolism; liver perfusion; metabolic flux analysis; DNA microarray analysis
Pluripotent embryonic stem (ES) cells represent a promising renewable cell source for the generation of functional differentiated cells. Previous studies incorporating embryoid body (EB)-mediated stem cell differentiation have, either spontaneously or after growth factor and extracellular matrix protein supplementation, yielded populations of hepatocyte lineage cells expressing mature hepatocyte markers such as albumin (ALB). In an effort to promote ES cell commitment to the hepatocyte lineage, we have evaluated the effects of four culture conditions on albumin and gene expression in differentiating ES cells. Quantitative in situ immunofluorescence and cDNA microarray analyses were used to describe not only lineage specificity but also to provide insights into the effects of disparate culture environments on the mechanisms of differentiation. The results of these studies suggest that spontaneous and collagen-mediated differentiation induce cells with the highest levels of ALB expression but mature liver specific genes were only expressed in the spontaneous condition. Further analysis of gene expression profiles indicated that two distinct mechanisms may govern spontaneous and collagen-mediated differentiation.
The current state of the art for linear optimization in Flux Balance Analysis has been limited to single objective functions. Since mammalian systems perform various functions, a multiobjective approach is needed when seeking optimal flux distributions in these systems. In most of the available multiobjective optimization methods, there is a lack of understanding of when to use a particular objective, and how to combine and/or prioritize mutually competing objectives to achieve a truly optimal solution. To address these limitations we developed a soft constraints based linear physical programming-based flux balance analysis (LPPFBA) framework to obtain a multiobjective optimal solutions. The developed framework was first applied to compute a set of multiobjective optimal solutions for various pairs of objectives relevant to hepatocyte function (urea secretion, albumin, NADPH, and glutathione syntheses) in bioartificial liver systems. Next, simultaneous analysis of the optimal solutions for three objectives was carried out. Further, this framework was utilized to obtain true optimal conditions to improve the hepatic functions in a simulated bioartificial liver system. The combined quantitative and visualization framework of LPPFBA is applicable to any large-scale metabolic network system, including those derived by genomic analyses.
Bioartificial Liver; Hepatocytes/Linear Physical Programming; Metabolic Networks; Multiobjective Optimization; Pareto Optimality
Donors after Cardiac Death present a significant pool of untapped organs for transplantation, and use of machine perfusion strategies has been an active focus area in experimental transplantation. However, despite two decades of research, a gold standard is yet to emerge for machine perfusion systems and protocols.
Whole blood reperfusion has been used as a surrogate for organ transplantation, especially as a model for the short-term response post transplantation, for optimization of perfusion systems. While it is known that there is a strong correlation between liver function in whole-blood reperfusion and survival, the exact nature of these correlations, and to what extent they can be considered as an indicator of viability for transplantation/recipient survival, remain unclear.
In this work, we demonstrate that diluted whole-blood reperfusion can be used as a direct model for transplantation of ischemic rat liver grafts. Moreover, it was shown that recipient survival can be predicted based simply on the value of ALT during perfusion, and quantitative criteria of viability was developed for use in this animal model. These results indicate that in the rat model graft survival is highly correlated to hepatocellular damage.
Microfabrication and micropatterning techniques in tissue engineering offer great potential for creating and controlling microenvironments in which cell behavior can be observed. Here we present a novel approach to generate layered patterning of hepatocytes on micropatterned fibroblast feeder layers using microfabricated polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) stencils. We fabricated PDMS stencils to pattern circular holes with diameters of 500 µm. Hepatocytes were co-cultured with 3T3-J2 fibroblasts in two types of patterns to evaluate and characterize the cellular interactions in the co-culture systems. Results of this study demonstrated uniform intracellular albumin staining and E-cadherin expression, increased liver-specific functions, and active glycogen synthesis in the hepatocytes when the heterotypic interface between hepatocytes and fibroblasts was increased by the layered patterning technique. This patterning technique can be a useful experimental tool for applications in basic science, drug screening, and tissue engineering, as well as in the design of bioartificial liver devices.
hepatocytes; co-culture; layered cell patterning; cellular interactions; fibroblasts