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1.  Human Progenitor Cell Recruitment via SDF-1α Coacervate-laden PGS Vascular Grafts 
Biomaterials  2013;34(38):10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.08.082.
Host cell recruitment is crucial for vascular graft remodeling and integration into the native blood vessel; it is especially important for cell-free strategies which rely on host remodeling. Controlled release of growth factors from vascular grafts may enhance host cell recruitment. Stromal cell-derived factor (SDF)-1α has been shown to induce host progenitor cell migration and recruitment; however, its potential in regenerative therapies is often limited due to its short half-life in vivo. This report describes a coacervate drug delivery system for enhancing progenitor cell recruitment into an elastomeric vascular graft by conferring protection of SDF-1α. Heparin and a synthetic polycation are used to form a coacervate, which is incorporated into poly(glycerol sebacate) (PGS) scaffolds. In addition to protecting SDF-1α, the coacervate facilitates uniform scaffold coating. Coacervate-laden scaffolds have high SDF-1α loading efficiency and provide sustained release under static and physiologically-relevant flow conditions with minimal initial burst release. In vitro assays showed that coacervate-laden scaffolds enhance migration and infiltration of human endothelial and mesenchymal progenitor cells by maintaining a stable SDF-1α gradient. These results suggest that SDF-1α coacervate-laden scaffolds show great promise for in situ vascular regeneration.
PMCID: PMC3882008  PMID: 24060423
Coacervate; Polycation; Stromal cell-derived factor (SDF)-1α; Poly(glycerol sebacate); Human progenitor cells; Tissue engineering
2.  Non-invasive Assessment of Elastic Modulus of Arterial Constructs during Cell Culture using Ultrasound Elasticity Imaging 
Ultrasound in medicine & biology  2013;39(11):2103-2115.
Mechanical strength is a key design factor for engineered arteries. Most existing techniques assess the mechanical property of arterial constructs destructively, leading to a large number of animal sacrifices. We propose an ultrasound-based non-invasive mechanical strength assessment technique for engineered arterial constructs. Tubular scaffolds made from a biodegradable elastomer and seeded with vascular fibroblasts and smooth muscle cells were cultured in a pulsatile-flow bioreactor. Scaffold distension was computed from ultrasound radiofrequency signals of the pulsating scaffold via two-dimensional phase-sensitive speckle tracking. The Young's modulus was then calculated by solving inverse problem from the distension and the recorded pulse pressure. Stiffness thus computed from ultrasound correlated well with direct mechanical testing results. As the scaffolds matured in culture, ultrasound measurements showed increased Young's modulus and histology confirmed the growth of cells and collagen fibrils in the constructs. The results show that ultrasound elastography non-invasively assesses and monitors the mechanical properties of arterial constructs.
PMCID: PMC3786060  PMID: 23932282
Ultrasound Elasticity Imaging; Non-invasive Assessment; Young's Modulus; Inverse Problem; Tissue Engineering; Arterial Construct
3.  Non-invasive Characterization of Polyurethane-based Tissue Constructs in a Rat Abdominal Repair Model Using High Frequency Ultrasound Elasticity Imaging 
Biomaterials  2013;34(11):2701-2709.
The evaluation of candidate materials and designs for soft tissue scaffolds would benefit from the ability to monitor the mechanical remodeling of the implant site without the need for periodic animal sacrifice and explant analysis. Toward this end, the ability of non-invasive ultrasound elasticity imaging (UEI) to assess temporal mechanical property changes in three different types of porous, biodegradable polyurethane scaffolds was evaluated in a rat abdominal wall repair model. The polymers utilized were salt-leached scaffolds of poly(carbonate urethane) urea, poly(ester urethane) urea and poly(ether ester urethane) urea at 85% porosity. A total of 60 scaffolds (20 each type) were implanted in a full thickness muscle wall replacement in the abdomens of 30 rats. The constructs were ultrasonically scanned every 2 weeks and harvested at weeks 4, 8 and 12 for compression testing or histological analysis. UEI demonstrated different temporal stiffness trends among the different scaffold types, while the stiffness of the surrounding native tissue remained unchanged. The changes in average normalized strains developed in the constructs from UEI compared well with the changes of mean compliance from compression tests and histology. The average normalized strains and the compliance for the same sample exhibited a strong linear relationship. The ability of UEI to identify herniation and to characterize the distribution of local tissue in-growth with high resolution was also investigated. In summary, the reported data indicate that UEI may allow tissue engineers to sequentially evaluate the progress of tissue construct mechanical behavior in vivo and in some cases may reduce the need for interim time point animal sacrifice.
PMCID: PMC3565386  PMID: 23347836
4.  Locking Plate for Proximal Humeral Fracture in the Elderly Population: Serial Change of Neck Shaft Angle 
Clinics in Orthopedic Surgery  2012;4(3):209-215.
We conducted this radiographic study in the elderly population with proximal humeral fracture aiming to evaluate 1) the serial changes of neck-shaft angle after locking plate fixation and 2) find relationship between change in neck shaft angle and various factors such as age, fracture pattern, severity of osteoporosis, medial support and initial reduction angle.
Twenty-five patients who underwent surgical treatment for proximal humeral fracture with locking plate between September 2008 and August 2010 are included. True anteroposterior and axillary lateral radiographs were made postoperatively and at each follow-up visit. Measurement of neck shaft angle was done at immediate postoperative, 3 months postoperative and a final follow-up (average, 11 months; range, 8 to 17 months). Severity of osteoporosis was assessed using cortical thickness suggested by Tingart et al.
The mean neck shaft angles were 133.6° (range, 100° to 116°) at immediate postoperative, 129.8° (range, 99° to 150°) at 3 months postoperative and 128.4° (range, 97° to 145°) at final follow-up. The mean loss in the neck-shaft angle in the first 3 months was 3.8° as compared to 1.3° in the period between 3 months and final follow-up. This was statistically significant (p = 0.002), indicating that most of the fall in neck shaft angle occurs in the first three months after surgery. Relationship between neck shaft angle change and age (p = 0.29), fracture pattern (p = 0.41), cortical thickness (p = 0.21), medial support (p = 0.63) and initial reduction accuracy (p = 0.65) are not statistically significant.
The proximal humerus locking plate maintains reliable radiographic results even in the elderly population with proximal humerus fracture.
PMCID: PMC3425651  PMID: 22949952
Proximal humeral fracture; Neck shaft angle; Elderly population; Locking plate
5.  Elastomeric PGS Scaffolds in Arterial Tissue Engineering 
Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading cause of mortality in the US and especially, coronary artery disease increases with an aging population and increasing obesity1. Currently, bypass surgery using autologous vessels, allografts, and synthetic grafts are known as a commonly used for arterial substitutes2. However, these grafts have limited applications when an inner diameter of arteries is less than 6 mm due to low availability, thrombotic complications, compliance mismatch, and late intimal hyperplasia3,4. To overcome these limitations, tissue engineering has been successfully applied as a promising alternative to develop small-diameter arterial constructs that are nonthrombogenic, robust, and compliant. Several previous studies have developed small-diameter arterial constructs with tri-lamellar structure, excellent mechanical properties and burst pressure comparable to native arteries5,6. While high tensile strength and burst pressure by increasing collagen production from a rigid material or cell sheet scaffold, these constructs still had low elastin production and compliance, which is a major problem to cause graft failure after implantation. Considering these issues, we hypothesized that an elastometric biomaterial combined with mechanical conditioning would provide elasticity and conduct mechanical signals more efficiently to vascular cells, which increase extracellular matrix production and support cellular orientation.
The objective of this report is to introduce a fabrication technique of porous tubular scaffolds and a dynamic mechanical conditioning for applying them to arterial tissue engineering. We used a biodegradable elastomer, poly (glycerol sebacate) (PGS)7 for fabricating porous tubular scaffolds from the salt fusion method. Adult primary baboon smooth muscle cells (SMCs) were seeded on the lumen of scaffolds, which cultured in our designed pulsatile flow bioreactor for 3 weeks. PGS scaffolds had consistent thickness and randomly distributed macro- and micro-pores. Mechanical conditioning from pulsatile flow bioreactor supported SMC orientation and enhanced ECM production in scaffolds. These results suggest that elastomeric scaffolds and mechanical conditioning of bioreactor culture may be a promising method for arterial tissue engineering.
PMCID: PMC3169269  PMID: 21505410
6.  Enhanced Cell Ingrowth and Proliferation through Three-Dimensional Nanocomposite Scaffolds with Controlled Pore Structures 
Biomacromolecules  2010;11(3):682-689.
We present enhanced cell ingrowth and proliferation through crosslinked three-dimensional (3D) nanocomposite scaffolds fabricated using poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF) and hydroxyapatite (HA) nanoparticles. Scaffolds with controlled internal pore structures were produced from computer-aided design (CAD) models and solid freeform fabrication (SFF) technique, while those with random pore structures were fabricated by NaCl leaching technique for comparison. The morphology and mechanical properties of scaffolds were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and mechanical testing, respectively. Pore interconnectivity of scaffolds was assessed using X-ray micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) and 3D imaging analysis. In vitro cell studies have been performed using MC3T3-E1 mouse preosteoblasts and cultured scaffolds in a rotating-wall-vessel bioreactor for 4 and 7 days to assess cell attachment, viability, ingrowth depth, and proliferation. The mechanical properties of crosslinked nanocomposite scaffolds were not significantly different after adding HA or varying pore structures. However, pore interconnectivity of PPF/HA nanocomposite scaffolds with controlled pore structures has been significantly increased, resulting in enhanced cell ingrowth depth 7 days after cell seeding. Cell attachment and proliferation are also higher in PPF/HA nanocomposite scaffolds. These results suggest that crosslinked PPF/HA nanocomposite scaffolds with controlled pore structures may lead to promising bone tissue engineering scaffolds with excellent cell proliferation and ingrowth.
PMCID: PMC2839506  PMID: 20112899
Poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF); Hydroxyapatite (HA); Nanocomposite; Solid freeform fabrication (SFF); Pre-osteoblast responses
7.  Physical Properties and Cellular Responses to Crosslinkable Poly(Propylene Fumarate)/Hydroxyapatite Nanocomposites 
Biomaterials  2008;29(19):2839-2848.
A series of crosslinkable nanocomposites has been developed using hydroxyapatite (HA) nanoparticles and poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF). PPF/HA nanocomposites with four different weight fractions of HA nanoparticles have been characterized in terms of thermal and mechanical properties. To assess surface chemistry of crosslinked PPF/HA nanocomposites, their hydrophilicity and capability of adsorbing proteins have been determined using static contact angle measurement and MicroBCA protein assay kit after incubation with 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS), respectively. In vitro cell studies have been performed using MC3T3-E1 mouse pre-osteoblast cells to investigate the ability of PPF/HA nanocomposites to support cell attachment, spreading, and proliferation after 1, 4, and 7 days. By adding HA nanoparticles to PPF, the mechanical properties of crosslinked PPF/HA nanocomposites have not been increased due to the initially high modulus of crosslinked PPF. However, hydrophilicity and serum protein adsorption on the surface of nanocomposites have been significantly increased, resulting in enhanced cell attachment, spreading, and proliferation after 4 days of cell seeding. These results indicate that crosslinkable PPF/HA nanocomposites are useful for hard tissue replacement because of excellent mechanical strength and osteoconductivity.
PMCID: PMC2430424  PMID: 18403013
Poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF); Hydroxyapatite (HA); Nanocomposite; Protein adsorption; Osteoblast response

Results 1-7 (7)