In situ endothelialization of cardiovascular implants has emerged in recent years as an attractive means of targeting the persistent problems of thrombosis and intimal hyperplasia. This study aimed to investigate the efficacy of immobilizing anti-CD34 antibodies onto a POSS-PCU nanocomposite polymer surface to sequester endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) from human blood, and to characterize the surface properties and hemocompatibility of this surface. Amine-functionalized fumed silica was used to covalently conjugate anti-CD34 to the polymer surface. Water contact angle, fluorescence microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy were used for surface characterization. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were seeded on modified and pristine POSS-PCU polymer films. After 7 days, adhered cells were immunostained for the expression of EPC and endothelial cell markers, and assessed for the formation of EPC colonies. Hemocompatibility was assessed by thromboelastography, and platelet activation and adhesion assays. The number of EPC colonies formed on anti-CD34-coated POSS-PCU surfaces was not significantly higher than that of POSS-PCU (5.0±1.0 vs. 1.7±0.6, p>0.05). However, antibody conjugation significantly improved hemocompatibility, as seen from the prolonged reaction and clotting times, decreased angle and maximum amplitude (p<0.05), as well as decreased platelet adhesion (76.8±7.8 vs. 8.4±0.7, p<0.05) and activation. Here, we demonstrate that POSS-PCU surface immobilized anti-CD34 antibodies selectively captured CD34+ cells from peripheral blood, although only a minority of these were EPCs. Nevertheless, antibody conjugation significantly improves the hemocompatibility of POSS-PCU, and should therefore continue to be explored in combination with other strategies to improve the specificity of EPC capture to promote in situ endothelialization.
The present work intends to evaluate the use of immediate loaded orthodontic screws in a growing model, and to study the specific bone response. Thirty-two screws (half of stainless steel and half of titanium) were inserted in the alveolar bone of 8 growing pigs. The devices were immediately loaded with a 100 g orthodontic force. Two loading periods were assessed: 4 and 12 weeks. Both systems of screws were clinically assessed. Histological observations and histomorphometric analysis evaluated the percent of “bone-to-implant contact” and static and dynamic bone parameters in the vicinity of the devices (test zone) and in a bone area located 1.5 cm posterior to the devices (control zone). Both systems exhibit similar responses for the survival rate; 87.5% and 81.3% for stainless steel and titanium respectively (p = 0.64; 4-week period), and 62.5% and 50.0% for stainless steel and titanium respectively (p = 0.09; 12-week period). No significant differences between the devices were found regarding the percent of “bone-to-implant contact” (p = 0.1) or the static and dynamic bone parameters. However, the 5% threshold of “bone-to-implant contact” was obtained after 4 weeks with the stainless steel devices, leading to increased survival rate values. Bone in the vicinity of the miniscrew implants showed evidence of a significant increase in bone trabecular thickness when compared to bone in the control zone (p = 0.05). In our study, it is likely that increased trabecular thickness is a way for low density bone to respond to the stress induced by loading.
Cutaneous regeneration utilizes paracrine feedback mechanisms to fine-tune the regulation of epidermal keratinocyte proliferation and migration. However, it is unknown how fibroblast-derived hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) affects these mutually exclusive processes in distinct cell populations. We here show that HGF stimulates the expression and phosphorylation of the microtubule-destabilizing factor stathmin in primary human keratinocytes. Quantitative single cell- and cell population-based analyses revealed that basal stathmin levels are important for the migratory ability of keratinocytes in vitro; however, its expression is moderately induced in the migration tongue of mouse skin or organotypic multi-layered keratinocyte 3D cultures after full-thickness wounding. In contrast, clearly elevated stathmin expression is detectable in hyperproliferative epidermal areas. In vitro, stathmin silencing significantly reduced keratinocyte proliferation. Automated quantitative and time-resolved analyses in organotypic cocultures demonstrated a high correlation between Stathmin/phospho-Stathmin and Ki67 positivity in epidermal regions with proliferative activity. Thus, activation of stathmin may stimulate keratinocyte proliferation, while basal stathmin levels are sufficient for keratinocyte migration during cutaneous regeneration.
To heal tissue defects, cells have to bridge gaps and generate new extracellular matrix (ECM). Macroporous scaffolds are frequently used to support the process of defect filling and thus foster tissue regeneration. Such biomaterials contain micro-voids (pores) that the cells fill with their own ECM over time. There is only limited knowledge on how pore geometry influences cell organization and matrix production, even though it is highly relevant for scaffold design. This study hypothesized that 1) a simple geometric description predicts cellular organization during pore filling at the cell level and that 2) pore closure results in a reorganization of ECM. Scaffolds with a broad distribution of pore sizes (macroporous starPEG-heparin cryogel) were used as a model system and seeded with primary fibroblasts. The strategies of cells to fill pores could be explained by a simple geometrical model considering cells as tensioned chords. The model matched qualitatively as well as quantitatively by means of cell number vs. open cross-sectional area for all pore sizes. The correlation between ECM location and cell position was higher when the pores were not filled with tissue (Pearson’s coefficient ρ = 0.45±0.01) and reduced once the pores were closed (ρ = 0.26±0.04) indicating a reorganization of the cell/ECM network. Scaffold pore size directed the time required for pore closure and furthermore impacted the organization of the fibronectin matrix. Understanding how cells fill micro-voids will help to design biomaterial scaffolds that support the endogenous healing process and thus allow a fast filling of tissue defects.
Molecular mechanisms leading to pressure ulcer development are scarce in spite of high mortality of patients. Development of pressure ulcers that is initially observed as deep tissue injury is multifactorial. We postulate that biomechanical forces and inflammasome activation, together with ischemia and aging, may play a role in pressure ulcer development. To test this we used a newly-developed bio-mechanical model in which ischemic young and aged human skin was subjected to a constant physiological compressive stress (load) of 300 kPa (determined by pressure plate analyses of a person in a reclining position) for 0.5–4 hours. Collagen orientation was assessed using polarized light, whereas inflammasome proteins were quantified by immunoblotting. Loaded skin showed marked changes in morphology and NLRP3 inflammasome protein expression. Sub-epidermal separations and altered orientation of collagen fibers were observed in aged skin at earlier time points. Aged skin showed significant decreases in the levels of NLRP3 inflammasome proteins. Loading did not alter NLRP3 inflammasome proteins expression in aged skin, whereas it significantly increased their levels in young skin. We conclude that aging contributes to rapid morphological changes and decrease in inflammasome proteins in response to tissue damage, suggesting that a decline in the innate inflammatory response in elderly skin could contribute to pressure ulcer pathogenesis. Observed morphological changes suggest that tissue damage upon loading may not be entirely preventable. Furthermore, newly developed model described here may be very useful in understanding the mechanisms of deep tissue injury that may lead towards development of pressure ulcers.
Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) is a pleiotropic cytokine with pro-angiogenic and neurotrophic effects. The angioregulatory role of this molecule may become especially significant in retinal neovascularization, which is a hallmark of a number of ischemic eye diseases. This study was undertaken to reveal expression characteristics of bFGF, produced by retinal glial (Müller) cells, and to determine conditions under which glial bFGF may stimulate the proliferation of retinal microvascular endothelial cells. Immunofluorescence labeling detected bFGF in Müller cells of the rat retina and in acutely isolated Müller cells with bFGF levels, which increased after ischemia-reperfusion in postischemic retinas. In patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy or myopia, the immunoreactivity of bFGF co-localized to glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-positive cells in surgically excised retinal tissues. RT-PCR and ELISA analyses indicated that cultured Müller cells produce bFGF, which is elevated under hypoxia or oxidative stress, as well as under stimulation with various growth factors and cytokines, including pro-inflammatory factors. When retinal endothelial cells were cultured in the presence of media from hypoxia (0.2%)-conditioned Müller cells, a distinct picture of endothelial cell proliferation emerged. Media from 24-h cultured Müller cells inhibited proliferation, whereas 72-h conditioned media elicited a stimulatory effect. BFGF-neutralizing antibodies suppressed the enhanced endothelial cell proliferation to a similar extent as anti-VEGF antibodies. Furthermore, phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK−1/−2) in retinal endothelial cells was increased when the cells were cultured in 72-h conditioned media, while neutralizing bFGF attenuated the activation of this signaling pathway. These data provide evidence that retinal (glial) Müller cells are major sources of bFGF in the ischemic retina. Müller cells under physiological conditions or transient hypoxia seem to provide an anti-angiogenic environment, but long-lasting hypoxia causes the release of bFGF, which might significantly co-stimulate neovascularization in the retina.
The presence of the conceptus in uterine cavity necessitates an elaborate network of interactions between the implanting embryo and a receptive endometrial tissue. We believe that embryo-derived signals play an important role in the remodeling and the extension of endometrial receptivity period. Our previous studies provided original evidence that human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) modulates and potentiates endometrial epithelial as well as stromal cell responsiveness to interleukin 1 (IL1), one of the earliest embryonic signals, which may represent a novel pathway by which the embryo favors its own implantation and growth within the maternal endometrial host. The present study was designed to gain a broader understanding of hCG impact on the modulation of endometrial cell receptivity, and in particular, cell responsiveness to IL1 and the acquisition of growth-promoting phenotype capable of receiving, sustaining, and promoting early and crucial steps of embryonic development. Our results showed significant changes in the expression of genes involved in cell proliferation, immune modulation, tissue remodeling, apoptotic and angiogenic processes. This points to a relevant impact of these embryonic signals on the receptivity of the maternal endometrium, its adaptation to the implanting embryo and the creation of an environment that is favorable for the implantation and the growth of this latter within a new and likely hostile host tissue. Interestingly our data further identified a complex interaction between IL1 and hCG, which, despite a synergistic action on several significant endometrial target genes, may encompass a tight control of endogenous IL1 and extends to other IL1 family members.
The staggering cost of bringing a drug to market coupled with the extremely high failure rate of prospective compounds in early phase clinical trials due to unexpected human toxicity makes it imperative that more relevant human models be developed to better predict drug toxicity. Drug–induced nephrotoxicity remains especially difficult to predict in both pre-clinical and clinical settings and is often undetected until patient hospitalization. Current pre-clinical methods of determining renal toxicity include 2D cell cultures and animal models, both of which are incapable of fully recapitulating the in vivo human response to drugs, contributing to the high failure rate upon clinical trials. We have bioengineered a 3D kidney tissue model using immortalized human renal cortical epithelial cells with kidney functions similar to that found in vivo. These 3D tissues were compared to 2D cells in terms of both acute (3 days) and chronic (2 weeks) toxicity induced by Cisplatin, Gentamicin, and Doxorubicin using both traditional LDH secretion and the pre-clinical biomarkers Kim-1 and NGAL as assessments of toxicity. The 3D tissues were more sensitive to drug-induced toxicity and, unlike the 2D cells, were capable of being used to monitor chronic toxicity due to repeat dosing. The inclusion of this tissue model in drug testing prior to the initiation of phase I clinical trials would allow for better prediction of the nephrotoxic effects of new drugs.
Silk-based biomaterials in combination with extracellular matrix (ECM) coatings were assessed as templates for cell-seeded bladder tissue engineering approaches. Two structurally diverse groups of silk scaffolds were produced by a gel spinning process and consisted of either smooth, compact multi-laminates (Group 1) or rough, porous lamellar-like sheets (Group 2). Scaffolds alone or coated with collagen types I or IV or fibronectin were assessed independently for their ability to support attachment, proliferation, and differentiation of primary cell lines including human bladder smooth muscle cells (SMC) and urothelial cells as well as pluripotent cell populations, such as murine embryonic stem cells (ESC) and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. AlamarBlue evaluations revealed that fibronectin-coated Group 2 scaffolds promoted the highest degree of primary SMC and urothelial cell attachment in comparison to uncoated Group 2 controls and all Group 1 scaffold variants. Real time RT-PCR and immunohistochemical (IHC) analyses demonstrated that both fibronectin-coated silk groups were permissive for SMC contractile differentiation as determined by significant upregulation of α-actin and SM22α mRNA and protein expression levels following TGFβ1 stimulation. Prominent expression of epithelial differentiation markers, cytokeratins, was observed in urothelial cells cultured on both control and fibronectin-coated groups following IHC analysis. Evaluation of silk matrices for ESC and iPS cell attachment by alamarBlue showed that fibronectin-coated Group 2 scaffolds promoted the highest levels in comparison to all other scaffold formulations. In addition, real time RT-PCR and IHC analyses showed that fibronectin-coated Group 2 scaffolds facilitated ESC and iPS cell differentiation toward both urothelial and smooth muscle lineages in response to all trans retinoic acid as assessed by induction of uroplakin and contractile gene and protein expression. These results demonstrate that silk scaffolds support primary and pluripotent cell responses pertinent to bladder tissue engineering and that scaffold morphology and fibronectin coatings influence these processes.
This study deals with the anchorage of polyelectrolyte films onto titanium surfaces via a cathecol-based linker for biomedical applications.
The following study uses a molecule functionalized with a catechol and a carboxylic acid: 3-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)propanoic acid. This molecule is anchored to the TiO2 substrate via the catechol while the carboxylic acid reacts with polymers bearing amine groups. By providing a film anchorage of chemisorption type, it makes possible to deposit polyelectrolytes on the surface of titanium.
Infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), contact angle and atomic force microscopy (AFM) measurements show that the different steps of grafting have been successfully performed.
This method based on catechol anchorage of polyelectrolytes open a window towards large possibilities of clinical applications.
The repair of central nerves remains a major challenge in regenerative neurobiology. Regenerative guides possessing critical features such as cell adhesion, physical guiding and topical stimulation are needed. To generate such a guide, silk protein materials are prepared using electrospinning. The silk is selected for this study due to its biocompatibility and ability to be electrospun for the formation of aligned biofunctional nanofibers. The addition of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor (CNTF) or both to the electrospun fibers enable enhanced function without impact to the structure or the surface morphology. Only a small fraction of the loaded growth factors is released over time allowing the fibers to continue to provide these factors to the cells for extended periods of time. The entrapped factors remain active and available to the cells as rat retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) exhibit longer axonal growth when in contact with the biofunctionalized fibers. Compare to non-functionalized fibers, the growth of neurites increased 2 fold on fibers containing BDNF, 2.5 fold with fibers containing CNTF and by almost 3-fold on fibers containing both factors. The results demonstrate the potential of aligned and functionalized electrospun silk fibers to promote nerve growth in the central nervous system, underlying the great potential of complex biomaterials in neuroregenerative strategies following axotomy and nerve crush traumas.
Silk; Nerve regeneration; BDNF; CNTF; biofunctionalization
The following study provides new insight into how surface topography dictates directed collective epithelial cell sheet growth through the guidance of individual cell movement. Collective cell behavior of migrating human corneal limbal-epithelial cell sheets were studied on highly biocompatible flat and micro-patterned silk film surfaces. The silk film edge topography guided the migratory direction of individual cells making up the collective epithelial sheet, which resulted in a 75% increase in total culture elongation. This was due to a 3-fold decrease in cell sheet migration rate efficiency for movement perpendicular to the topography edge. Individual cell migration direction is preferred in the parallel approach to the edge topography where localization of cytoskeletal proteins to the topography’s edge region is reduced, which results in the directed growth of the collective epithelial sheet. Findings indicate customized biomaterial surfaces may be created to direct both the migration rate and direction of tissue epithelialization.
hyaluronan biopolymer is used in dermatology but the underlying mechanism and the impact of its molecular weight have not yet been investigated in skin wound healing. The aim of our work was to study the role of HA molecular weight in the proliferative phase of wound healing and to understand how this physiological biopolymer acts to promote wound healing on a human keratinocyte in vitro model.
Methodology and Findings
wound healing closure was evaluated using scratch test assay, cell proliferation by counting cell with haemocytometer, expression of CD44 and ZO-1 (protein present in tight junctions specific of epithelia) using flow cytometry, and P2X7 receptor activation on living using a cytoflurometric method. Our study showed that medium hyaluronan fragment (MMW-HA, between 100 and 300 kDa) induced a significant increase in wound closure, increased ZO-1 protein expression and induced a slight activation of P2X7 receptor, contrary to high (between 1000 and 1400 kDa) and low (between 5 and 20 kDa) molecular hyaluronan fragments that had no healing effects. Basal activation of P2X7 receptor is already known to stimulate cell proliferation and this activation in our model plays a pivotal role in MMW-HA-induced wound healing. Indeed, we showed that use of BBG, a specific inhibitor of P2X7 receptor, blocked completely the beneficial effects of MMW-HA on wound healing.
taken together, our results showed for the first time the relationship between P2X7 receptor and hyaluronan in wound healing, and that topical use of MMW-HA (fragment between 100 and 300 kDa) could represent a new therapeutic strategy to promote healing.
Complications in dentistry and orthopaedic surgery are mainly induced by peri-implant bacterial infections and current implant devices do not prevent such infections. The coating of antibacterial molecules such as chitosan on its surface would give the implant bioactive properties. The major challenge of this type of coating is the attachment of chitosan to a metal substrate. In this study, we propose to investigate the functionalization of titanium with chitosan via a silanation. Firstly, the surface chemistry and mechanical properties of such coating were evaluated. We also verified if the coated chitosan retained its biocompatibility with the peri-implant cells, as well as its antibacterial properties. FTIR and Tof-SIMS analyses confirmed the presence of chitosan on the titanium surface. This coating showed great scratch resistance and was strongly adhesive to the substrate. These mechanical properties were consistent with an implantology application. The Chitosan-coated surfaces showed strong inhibition of Actinomyces naeslundii growth; they nonetheless showed a non significant inhibition against Porphyromonas gingivalis after 32 hours in liquid media. The chitosan-coating also demonstrated good biocompatibility to NIH3T3 fibroblasts. Thus this method of covalent coating provides a biocompatible material with improved bioactive properties. These results proved that covalent coating of chitosan has significant potential in biomedical device implantation.
Burn demographics, prevention and care have changed considerably since the 1970s. The objectives were to 1) identify new and confirm previously described changes, 2) make comparisons to the American Burn Association National Burn Repository, 3) determine when the administration of fluids in excess of the Baxter formula began and to identify potential causes, and 4) model mortality over time, during a 36-year period (1974–2009) at the Harborview Burn Center in Seattle, WA, USA.
Methods and Findings
14,266 consecutive admissions were analyzed in five-year periods and many parameters compared to the National Burn Repository. Fluid resuscitation was compared in five-year periods from 1974 to 2009. Mortality was modeled with the rBaux model. Many changes are highlighted at the end of the manuscript including 1) the large increase in numbers of total and short-stay admissions, 2) the decline in numbers of large burn injuries, 3) that unadjusted case fatality declined to the mid-1980s but has changed little during the past two decades, 4) that race/ethnicity and payer status disparity exists, and 5) that the trajectory to death changed with fewer deaths occurring after seven days post-injury. Administration of fluids in excess of the Baxter formula during resuscitation of uncomplicated injuries was evident at least by the early 1990s and has continued to the present; the cause is likely multifactorial but pre-hospital fluids, prophylactic tracheal intubation and opioids may be involved.
1) The dramatic changes include the rise in short-stay admissions; as a result, the model of burn care practiced since the 1970s is still required but is no longer sufficient. 2) Fluid administration in excess of the Baxter formula with uncomplicated injuries began at least two decades ago. 3) Unadjusted case fatality declined to ∼6% in the mid-1980s and changed little since then. The rBaux mortality model is quite accurate.
We have developed an implantable fuel cell that generates power through glucose oxidation, producing steady-state power and up to peak power. The fuel cell is manufactured using a novel approach, employing semiconductor fabrication techniques, and is therefore well suited for manufacture together with integrated circuits on a single silicon wafer. Thus, it can help enable implantable microelectronic systems with long-lifetime power sources that harvest energy from their surrounds. The fuel reactions are mediated by robust, solid state catalysts. Glucose is oxidized at the nanostructured surface of an activated platinum anode. Oxygen is reduced to water at the surface of a self-assembled network of single-walled carbon nanotubes, embedded in a Nafion film that forms the cathode and is exposed to the biological environment. The catalytic electrodes are separated by a Nafion membrane. The availability of fuel cell reactants, oxygen and glucose, only as a mixture in the physiologic environment, has traditionally posed a design challenge: Net current production requires oxidation and reduction to occur separately and selectively at the anode and cathode, respectively, to prevent electrochemical short circuits. Our fuel cell is configured in a half-open geometry that shields the anode while exposing the cathode, resulting in an oxygen gradient that strongly favors oxygen reduction at the cathode. Glucose reaches the shielded anode by diffusing through the nanotube mesh, which does not catalyze glucose oxidation, and the Nafion layers, which are permeable to small neutral and cationic species. We demonstrate computationally that the natural recirculation of cerebrospinal fluid around the human brain theoretically permits glucose energy harvesting at a rate on the order of at least 1 mW with no adverse physiologic effects. Low-power brain–machine interfaces can thus potentially benefit from having their implanted units powered or recharged by glucose fuel cells.
We demonstrate ensemble three-dimensional cell cultures and quantitative analysis of angiogenic growth from uniform endothelial monolayers. Our approach combines two key elements: a micro-fluidic assay that enables parallelized angiogenic growth instances subject to common extracellular conditions, and an automated image acquisition and processing scheme enabling high-throughput, unbiased quantification of angiogenic growth. Because of the increased throughput of the assay in comparison to existing three-dimensional morphogenic assays, statistical properties of angiogenic growth can be reliably estimated. We used the assay to evaluate the combined effects of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and the signaling lipid sphingoshine-1-phosphate (S1P). Our results show the importance of S1P in amplifying the angiogenic response in the presence of VEGF gradients. Furthermore, the application of S1P with VEGF gradients resulted in angiogenic sprouts with higher aspect ratio than S1P with background levels of VEGF, despite reduced total migratory activity. This implies a synergistic effect between the growth factors in promoting angiogenic activity. Finally, the variance in the computed angiogenic metrics (as measured by ensemble standard deviation) was found to increase linearly with the ensemble mean. This finding is consistent with stochastic agent-based mathematical models of angiogenesis that represent angiogenic growth as a series of independent stochastic cell-level decisions.
Endometriosis, a disease of reproductive age women, is a major cause of infertility, menstrual disorders and pelvic pain. Little is known about its etiopathology, but chronic pelvic inflammation is a common feature in affected women. Beside symptomatic treatment of endometriosis-associated pain, only two main suboptimal therapeutic approaches (hormonal and invasive surgery) are generally recommended to patients and no specific targeted treatment is available. Our studies led to the detection of a marked increase in the expression of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in the eutopic endometrium, the peripheral blood and the peritoneal fluid of women with endometriosis, and in early, vascularized and active endometriotic lesions. Herein, we developed a treatment model of endometriosis, where human endometrial tissue was first allowed to implant into the peritoneal cavity of nude mice, to assess in vivo the effect of a specific antagonist of MIF (ISO-1) on the progression of endometriosis and evaluate its efficacy as a potential therapeutic tool. Administration of ISO-1 led to a significant decline of the number, size and in situ dissemination of endometriotic lesions. We further showed that ISO-1 may act by significantly inhibiting cell adhesion, tissue remodeling, angiogenesis and inflammation as well as by altering the balance of pro- and anti-apoptotic factors. Actually, mice treatment with ISO-1 significantly reduced the expression of cell adhesion receptors αv and ß3 integrins (P<0.05), matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) 2 and 9 (P<0.05), vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF) (P<0.01), interleukin 8 (IL8) (P<0.05), cyclooxygenease (COX)2 (P<0.001) and the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl2 (P<0.01), but significantly induced the expression of Bax (P<0.05), a potent pro-apoptotic protein. These data provide evidence that specific inhibition of MIF alters endometriotic tissue growth and progression in vivo and may represent a promising potential therapeutic avenue.
Tissue engineering is based on the association of cultured cells with structural matrices and the incorporation of signaling molecules for inducing tissue regeneration. Despite its enormous potential, tissue engineering faces a major challenge concerning the maintenance of cell viability after the implantation of the constructs. The lack of a functional vasculature within the implant compromises the delivery of nutrients to and removal of metabolites from the cells, which can lead to implant failure. In this sense, our investigation aims to develop a new strategy for enhancing vascularization in tissue engineering constructs. This study's aim was to establish a culture of human adipose tissue-derived stem cells (hASCs) to evaluate the biocompatibility of electrospun fiber mesh made of polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) and its copolymer poly-3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate (PHB-HV) and to promote the differentiation of hASCs into the endothelial lineage. Fiber mesh was produced by blending 30% PHB with 70% PHB-HV and its physical characterization was conducted using scanning electron microscopy analysis (SEM). Using electrospinning, fiber mesh was obtained with diameters ranging 300 nm to 1.3 µm. To assess the biological performance, hASCs were extracted, cultured, characterized by flow cytometry, expanded and seeded onto electrospun PHB/PHB-HV fiber mesh. Various aspects of the cells were analyzed in vitro using SEM, MTT assay and Calcein-AM staining. The in vitro evaluation demonstrated good adhesion and a normal morphology of the hASCs. After 7, 14 and 21 days of seeding hASCs onto electrospun PHB/PHB-HV fiber mesh, the cells remained viable and proliferative. Moreover, when cultured with endothelial differentiation medium (i.e., medium containing VEGF and bFGF), the hASCs expressed endothelial markers such as VE-Cadherin and the vWF factor. Therefore, the electrospun PHB/PHB-HV fiber mesh appears to be a suitable material that can be used in combination with endothelial-differentiated cells to improve vascularization in engineered bone tissues.
Skeletal muscle tissue engineering has the potential to treat tissue loss and degenerative diseases. However, these systems are also applicable for a variety of devices where actuation is needed, such as microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and robotics. Most current efforts to generate muscle bioactuators are focused on using mammalian cells, which require exacting conditions for survival and function. In contrast, invertebrate cells are more environmentally robust, metabolically adaptable and relatively autonomous. Our hypothesis is that the use of invertebrate muscle cells will obviate many of the limitations encountered when mammalian cells are used for bioactuation. We focus on the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta, due to its easy availability, large size and well-characterized muscle contractile properties. Using isolated embryonic cells, we have developed culture conditions to grow and characterize contractile M. sexta muscles. The insect hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone was used to induce differentiation in the system, resulting in cells that stained positive for myosin, contract spontaneously for the duration of the culture, and do not require media changes over periods of more than a month. These cells proliferate under normal conditions, but the application of juvenile hormone induced further proliferation and inhibited differentiation. Cellular metabolism under normal and low glucose conditions was compared for C2C12 mouse and M. sexta myoblast cells. While differentiated C2C12 cells consumed glucose and produced lactate over one week as expected, M. sexta muscle did not consume significant glucose, and lactate production exceeded mammalian muscle production on a per cell basis. Contractile properties were evaluated using index of movement analysis, which demonstrated the potential of these cells to perform mechanical work. The ability of cultured M. sexta muscle to continuously function at ambient conditions without medium replenishment, combined with the interesting metabolic properties, suggests that this cell source is a promising candidate for further investigation toward bioactuator applications.
Morgellons is a poorly characterized constellation of symptoms, with the primary manifestations involving the skin. We conducted an investigation of this unexplained dermopathy to characterize the clinical and epidemiologic features and explore potential etiologies.
A descriptive study was conducted among persons at least 13 years of age and enrolled in Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) during 2006–2008. A case was defined as the self-reported emergence of fibers or materials from the skin accompanied by skin lesions and/or disturbing skin sensations. We collected detailed epidemiologic data, performed clinical evaluations and geospatial analyses and analyzed materials collected from participants' skin.
We identified 115 case-patients. The prevalence was 3.65 (95% CI = 2.98, 4.40) cases per 100,000 enrollees. There was no clustering of cases within the 13-county KPNC catchment area (p = .113). Case-patients had a median age of 52 years (range: 17–93) and were primarily female (77%) and Caucasian (77%). Multi-system complaints were common; 70% reported chronic fatigue and 54% rated their overall health as fair or poor with mean Physical Component Scores and Mental Component Scores of 36.63 (SD = 12.9) and 35.45 (SD = 12.89), respectively. Cognitive deficits were detected in 59% of case-patients and 63% had evidence of clinically significant somatic complaints; 50% had drugs detected in hair samples and 78% reported exposure to solvents. Solar elastosis was the most common histopathologic abnormality (51% of biopsies); skin lesions were most consistent with arthropod bites or chronic excoriations. No parasites or mycobacteria were detected. Most materials collected from participants' skin were composed of cellulose, likely of cotton origin.
This unexplained dermopathy was rare among this population of Northern California residents, but associated with significantly reduced health-related quality of life. No common underlying medical condition or infectious source was identified, similar to more commonly recognized conditions such as delusional infestation.
Tissue-engineered nerve scaffolds hold great potential in bridging large peripheral nerve defects. However, insufficient vascularization of nerve scaffolds limited neural tissues survival and regeneration, which hampered the successful implantation and clinical application of nerve scaffolds. The omentum possesses a high vascularization capacity and enhances regeneration and maturation of tissues and constructs to which it is applied. However, combined application of nerve scaffolds and omentum on axonal regeneration and functional recovery in the treatment of large peripheral nerve defects has rarely been investigated thus far.
In the present study, an omentum-wrapped collagen-chitosan scaffold was used to bridge a 15-mm-long sciatic nerve defect in rats. Rats that received nerve autografts or scaffolds alone were served as positive control or negative control, respectively. The axonal regeneration and functional recovery were examined by a combination of walking track analysis, electrophysiological assessment, Fluoro-Gold (FG) retrograde tracing, as well as morphometric analyses to both regenerated nerves and target muscles.
The results demonstrated that axonal regeneration and functional recovery were in the similar range between the omentum-wrapping group and the autograft group, which were significantly better than those in the scaffold alone group. Further investigation showed that the protein levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF) were significantly higher in the omentum-wrapping group than those in the scaffold alone group in the early weeks after surgery.
These findings indicate that the omentum-wrapped scaffold is capable of enhancing axonal regeneration and functional recovery, which might be served as a potent alternative to nerve autografts. The beneficial effect of omentum-wrapping on nerve regeneration might be related with the proteins produced by omentum.
Unlike skin, oral gingiva do not scar in response to injury. The basis of this difference is likely to be revealed by comparing the responses of dermal and gingival fibroblasts to fibrogenic stimuli. Previously, we showed that, compared to dermal fibroblasts, gingival fibroblasts are less responsive to the potent pro-fibrotic cytokine TGFβ, due to a reduced production of endothelin-1 (ET-1). In this report, we show that, compared to dermal fibroblasts, human gingival fibroblasts show reduced expression of pro-adhesive mRNAs and proteins including integrins α2 and α4 and focal adhesion kinase (FAK). Consistent with these observations, gingival fibroblasts are less able to adhere to and spread on both fibronectin and type I collagen. Moreover, the enhanced production of ET-1 mRNA and protein in dermal fibroblasts is reduced by the FAK/src inhibitor PP2. Given our previous observations suggesting that fibrotic fibroblasts display elevated adhesive properties, our data suggest that scarring potential may be based, at least in part, on differences in adhesive properties among fibroblasts resident in connective tissue. Controlling adhesive properties may be of benefit in controlling scarring in response to tissue injury.
Depletion of the circulating actin-binding protein, plasma gelsolin (pGSN) has been described in critically ill surgical patients. We hypothesized that the extent of pGSN reduction might correlate with different outcome of burn patients. The study was performed to evaluate the prognostic implications of pGSN levels on the development of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) and fatal outcome in a group of severely burn patients.
Methods and Findings
95 patients were included, and they were divided into three groups with different burn area: group I (n = 33), group II (n = 32) and group III (n = 30). According to whether there was development of MODS or not, patients were divided into MODS group (n = 28) and none-MODS group (n = 67); then the patients with MODS were further divided into non-survivor group (n = 17) and survivor group (n = 11). The peripheral blood samples were collected on postburn days (PBD) 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21. The levels of pGSN were determined and T cells were procured from the blood. The contents of cytokines (IL-2, IL-4 and IFN-γ) released by T cells were also measured. The related factors of prognosis were analyzed by using multivariate logistic regression analysis. The results showed that pGSN concentrations, as well as the levels of IL-2 and IFN-γ, decreased markedly on PBD 1–21, whereas, the levels of IL-4 increased markedly in all burn groups as compared with normal controls (P<0.05 or P<0.01), and there were obviously differences between group I and group III (P<0.05 or P<0.01). The similar results were found in MODS patients and the non-survivor group as compared with those without MODS and the survival group on days 3–21 postburn (P<0.05 or P<0.01). Moreover, as the pGSN levels decreased, the incidence of septic complication as well as MODS remarkably increased.
pGSN levels appear to be an early prognostic marker in patients suffering from major burns.
Multi-photon fluorescence microscopy techniques allow for non-invasive interrogation of live samples in their native environment. These methods are particularly appealing for identifying pre-cancers because they are sensitive to the early changes that occur on the microscopic scale and can provide additional information not available using conventional screening techniques.
In this study, we developed novel automated approaches, which can be employed for the real-time analysis of two-photon fluorescence images, to non-invasively discriminate between normal and pre-cancerous/HPV-immortalized engineered tissues by concurrently assessing metabolic activity, morphology, organization, and keratin localization. Specifically, we found that the metabolic activity was significantly enhanced and more uniform throughout the depths of the HPV-immortalized epithelia, based on our extraction of the NADH and FAD fluorescence contributions. Furthermore, we were able to separate the keratin contribution from metabolic enzymes to improve the redox estimates and to use the keratin localization as a means to discriminate between tissue types. To assess morphology and organization, Fourier-based, power spectral density (PSD) approaches were employed. The nuclear size distribution throughout the epithelial depths was quantified by evaluating the variance of the corresponding spatial frequencies, which was found to be greater in the normal tissue compared to the HPV-immortalized tissues. The PSD was also used to calculate the Hurst parameter to identify the level of organization in the tissues, assuming a fractal model for the fluorescence intensity fluctuations within a field. We found the range of organization was greater in the normal tissue and closely related to the level of differentiation.
A wealth of complementary morphological, biochemical and organizational tissue parameters can be extracted from high resolution images that are acquired based entirely on endogenous sources of contrast. They are promising diagnostic parameters for the non-invasive identification of early cancerous changes and could improve significantly diagnosis and treatment for numerous patients.