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1.  The influence of extracellular matrix composition on the differentiation of neuronal subtypes in tissue engineered innervated intestinal smooth muscle sheets 
Biomaterials  2014;35(26):7429-7440.
Differentiation of enteric neural stem cells into several appropriate neural phenotypes is crucial while considering transplantation as a cellular therapy to treat enteric neuropathies. We describe the formation of tissue engineered innervated sheets, where intestinal smooth muscle and enteric neuronal progenitor cells are brought into close association in extracellular matrix (ECM) based microenvironments. Uniaxial alignment of constituent smooth muscle cells was achieved by substrate microtopography. The smooth muscle component of the tissue engineered sheets maintained a contractile phenotype irrespective of the ECM composition, and generated equivalent contractions in response to potassium chloride stimulation, similar to native intestinal tissue. We provided enteric neuronal progenitor cells with permissive ECM-based compositional and viscoelastic cues to generate excitatory and inhibitory neuronal subtypes. In the presence of the smooth muscle cells, the enteric neuronal progenitor cells differentiated to functionally innervate the smooth muscle. The differentiation of specific neuronal subtypes was influenced by the ECM microenvironment, namely combinations of collagen-I, collagen-IV, laminin and/or heparan sulfate. The physiology of differentiated neurons within tissue engineered sheets was evaluated. Sheets with composite collagen and laminin had the most similar patterns of Acetylcholine-induced contraction to native intestinal tissue, corresponding to an increased protein expression of choline acetyltransferase. An enriched nitrergic neuronal population, evidenced by an increased expression of neuronal nitric oxide synthase, was obtained in tissue engineered sheets that included collagen-IV. These sheets had a significantly increased magnitude of electrical field stimulated relaxation, sensitive maximally to nitric oxide synthase inhibition. Tissue engineered sheets containing laminin and/or heparan sulfate had a balanced expression of contractile and relaxant motor neurons. Our studies demonstrated that neuronal subtype was modulated by varying ECM composition. This observation could be utilized to derive enriched populations of specific enteric neurons in vitro prior to transplantation.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.05.037
PMCID: PMC4086147  PMID: 24929617
Neural stem cell; neural tissue engineering; extracellular matrix; adult stem cell; enteric nervous system
2.  Microfluidic Techniques for Development of 3D Vascularized Tissue 
Biomaterials  2014;35(26):7308-7325.
Development of a vascularized tissue is one of the key challenges for the successful clinical application of tissue engineered constructs. Despite the significant efforts over the last few decades, establishing a gold standard to develop three dimensional (3D) vascularized tissues has still remained far from reality. Recent advances in the application of microfluidic platforms to the field of tissue engineering have greatly accelerated the progress toward the development of viable vascularized tissue constructs. Numerous techniques have emerged to induce the formation of vascular structure within tissues which can be broadly classified into two distinct categories, namely (1) prevascularization-based techniques and (2) vasculogenesis and angiogenesis-based techniques. This review presents an overview of the recent advancements in the vascularization techniques using both approaches for generating 3D vascular structure on microfluidic platforms.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.04.091
PMCID: PMC4118596  PMID: 24906345
3.  Comparison of biomaterial delivery vehicles for improving acute retention of stem cells in the infarcted heart 
Biomaterials  2014;35(25):6850-6858.
Cell delivery to the infarcted heart has emerged as a promising therapy, but is limited by very low acute retention and engraftment of cells. The objective of the study was to compare a panel of biomaterials to evaluate if acute retention can be improved with a biomaterial carrier. Cells were quantified post-implantation in a rat myocardial infarct model in five groups (n=7–8); saline injection (current clinical standard), two injectable hydrogels (alginate, chitosan/β-glycerophosphate) and two epicardial patches (alginate, collagen). Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) were delivered to the infarct border zone with each biomaterial. At 24 hours, retained cells were quantified by fluorescence. All biomaterials had superior fluorescence to saline control, with 8 and 14-fold increases with alginate and chitosan/β-GP injectables, and 47 and 59-fold increases achieved with collagen and alginate patches, respectively. Immunohistochemical analysis qualitatively confirmed these findings. All four biomaterials retained 50–60% of cells that were present immediately following transplantation, compared to 10% for the saline control. In conclusion, all four injectable hydrogels and epicardial patches were demonstrated to more efficiently deliver and retain cells when compared to a saline control. Biomaterial-based delivery approaches show promise for future development of efficient in vivo delivery techniques.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.04.114
PMCID: PMC4051834  PMID: 24862441
4.  Multifunctional Polymersomes for Cytosolic Delivery of Gemcitabine and Doxorubicin to Cancer Cells 
Biomaterials  2014;35(24):6482-6497.
Although liposomes are widely used as carriers of drugs and imaging agents, they suffer from a lack of stability and the slow release of the encapsulated contents at the targeted site. Polymersomes (vesicles of amphiphilic polymers) are considerably more stable compared to liposomes; however, they also demonstrate a slow release for the encapsulated contents, limiting their efficacy as a drug-delivery tool. As a solution, we prepared and characterized echogenic polymersomes which are programmed to release the encapsulated drugs rapidly when incubated with cytosolic concentrations of glutathione. These vesicles encapsulated air bubbles inside and efficiently reflected diagnostic frequency ultrasound. Folate-targeted polymersomes showed an enhanced uptake by breast and pancreatic-cancer cells in a monolayer as well as in three-dimensional spheroid cultures. Polymersomes encapsulated with the anticancer drugs gemcitabine and doxorubicin showed significant cytotoxicity to these cells. With further improvements, these vesicles hold the promise to serve as multifunctional nanocarriers, offering a triggered release as well as diagnostic ultrasound imaging.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.04.026
PMCID: PMC4059508  PMID: 24797878
Drug delivery; Liposome; Polymersome; Pancreatic cancer; Gemcitabine
5.  Tumor targeting RGD conjugated bio-reducible polymer for VEGF siRNA expressing plasmid delivery 
Biomaterials  2014;35(26):7543-7552.
Targeted delivery of therapeutic genes to the tumor site is critical for successful and safe cancer gene therapy. The arginine grafted bio-reducible poly (cystamine bisacrylamide-diaminohexane, CBA-DAH) polymer (ABP) conjugated poly (amido amine) (PAMAM), PAM-ABP (PA) was designed previously as an efficient gene delivery carrier. To achieve high efficacy in cancer selective delivery, we developed the tumor targeting bio-reducible polymer, PA-PEG1k-RGD, by conjugating cyclic RGDfC (RGD) peptides, which bind αvβ3/5 integrins, to the PAM-ABP using polyethylene glycol (PEG,1kDa) as a spacer. Physical characterization showed nanocomplex formation with bio-reducible properties between PA-PEG1k-RGD and plasmid DNA (pDNA). In transfection assays, PA-PEG1k-RGD showed significantly higher transfection efficiency in comparison with PAM-ABP or PA-PEG1k-RGD in αvβ3/5 positive MCF7 breast cancer and PANC-1 pancreatic cancer cells. The targeting ability of PA-PEG1k-RGD was further established using a competition assay. To confirm the therapeutic effect, the VEGF siRNA expressing plasmid was constructed and then delivered into cancer cells using PA-PEG1k-RGD. PA-PEG1k-RGD showed 20-59% higher cellular uptake rate into MCF7 and PANC-1 than that of non-targeted polymers. In addition, MCF7 and PANC-1 cancer cells transfected with PA-PEG1k-RGD/pshVEGF complexes had significantly decreased VEGF gene expression (51-71%) and cancer cell viability (35-43%) compared with control. These results demonstrate that a tumor targeting bio-reducible polymer with an anti-angiogenic therapeutic gene could be used for efficient and safe cancer gene therapy.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.05.021
PMCID: PMC4090046  PMID: 24894645
Targeted gene delivery; Cancer gene therapy; RGD peptides; VEGF siRNA; Bio-reducible polymer
6.  Heparin Microparticle Effects on Presentation and Bioactivity of Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 
Biomaterials  2014;35(25):7228-7238.
Biomaterials capable of providing localized and sustained presentation of bioactive proteins are critical for effective therapeutic growth factor delivery. However, current biomaterial delivery vehicles commonly suffer from limitations that can result in low retention of growth factors at the site of interest or adversely affect growth factor bioactivity. Heparin, a highly sulfated glycosaminoglycan, is an attractive growth factor delivery vehicle due to its ability to reversibly bind positively charged proteins, provide sustained delivery, and maintain protein bioactivity. This study describes the fabrication and characterization of heparin methacrylamide (HMAm) microparticles for recombinant growth factor delivery. HMAm microparticles were shown to efficiently bind several heparin-binding growth factors (e.g. bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2)), including a wide range of BMP-2 concentrations that exceeds the maximum binding capacity of other common growth factor delivery vehicles, such as gelatin. BMP-2 bioactivity was assessed on the basis of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity induced in skeletal myoblasts (C2C12). Microparticles loaded with BMP-2 stimulated comparable C2C12 ALP activity to soluble BMP-2 treatment, indicating that BMP-2-loaded microparticles retain bioactivity and potently elicit a functional cell response. In summary, our results suggest that heparin microparticles stably retain large amounts of bioactive BMP-2 for prolonged periods of time, and that presentation of BMP-2 via heparin microparticles can elicit cell responses comparable to soluble BMP-2 treatment. Consequently, heparin microparticles present an effective method of delivering and spatially retaining growth factors that could be used in a variety of systems to enable directed induction of cell fates and tissue regeneration.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.05.011
PMCID: PMC4093826  PMID: 24881028
7.  The effect of a polyurethane coating incorporating both a thrombin inhibitor and nitric oxide on hemocompatibility in extracorporeal circulation 
Biomaterials  2014;35(26):7271-7285.
Nitric oxide (NO) releasing (NORel) materials have been extensively investigated to create localized increases in NO concentration by the proton driven diazeniumdiolate-containing polymer coatings and demonstrated to improve extracorporeal circulation (ECC) hemocompatibility. In this work, the NORel polymeric coating composed of a diazeniumdiolated dibutylhexanediamine (DBHD-N2O2)-containing hydrophobic Elast-eon™ (E2As) polyurethane was combined with a direct thrombin inhibitor, argatroban (AG), and evaluated in a 4 h rabbit thrombogenicity model without systemic anticoagulation. In addition, the immobilizing of argatroban to E2As polymer was achieved by either a polyethylene glycol-containing (PEGDI) or hexane methylene (HMDI) diisocyanate linker. The combined polymer film was coated on the inner walls of ECC circuits to yield significantly reduced ECC thrombus formation compared to argatroban alone ECC control after 4 h blood exposure (0.6 ± 0.1 AG/HMDI/NORel vs 1.7 ± 0.2 cm2 AG/HMDI control). Platelet count (2.8 ± 0.3 AG/HMDI/NORel vs 1.9 ± 0.1 × 108/ml AG/HMDI control) and plasma fibrinogen levels were preserved after 4 h blood exposure with both the NORel/argatroban combination and the AG/HMDI control group compared to baseline. Platelet function as measured by aggregometry remained near normal in both the AG/HMDI/NORel (63 ± 5%) and AG/HMDI control (58 ± 7%) groups after 3 h compared to baseline (77 ± 1%). Platelet P-selectin mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) as measured by flow cytometry also remained near baseline levels after 4 h on ECC to ex vivo collagen stimulation (16 ± 3 AG/HMDI/NORel vs 11 ± 2 MFI baseline). These results suggest that the combined AG/HMDI/NORel polymer coating preserves platelets in blood exposure to ECCs to a better degree than AG/PEGDI/NORel, NORel alone or AG alone. These combined antithrombin, NO-mediated antiplatelet effects were shown to improve thromboresistance of the AG/HMDI/NORel polymer-coated ECCs and move potential nonthrombogenic polymers closer to mimicking vascular endothelium.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.05.036
PMCID: PMC4099065  PMID: 24927680
argatroban; direct thrombin inhibition; nitric oxide releasing polymer; thrombogenicity; hexane methylene diisocyanate (HMDI); polyethylene glycol (PEG)
8.  Gene Delivery from Supercharged Coiled-coil Protein and Cationic Lipid Hybrid Complex 
Biomaterials  2014;35(25):7188-7193.
A lipoproteoplex comprised of an engineered supercharged coiled-coil protein (CSP) bearing multiple arginines and the cationic lipid formulation FuGENE HD (FG) was developed for effective condensation and delivery of nucleic acids. The CSP was able to maintain helical structure and self-assembly properties while exhibiting binding to plasmid DNA. The ternary CSP•DNA(8:1)•FG lipoproteoplex complex demonstrated enhanced transfection of β-galactosidase DNA into MC3T3-E1 mouse preosteoblasts. The lipoproteoplexes showed significant increases in transfection efficiency when compared to conventional FG and an mTat•FG lipopolyplex with a 6- and 2.5-fold increase in transfection, respectively. The CSP•DNA(8:1)•FG lipoproteoplex assembled into spherical particles with a net positive surface charge, enabling efficient gene delivery. These results support the application of lipoproteoplexes with protein engineered CSP for non-viral gene delivery.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.05.005
PMCID: PMC4099184  PMID: 24875765
coiled-coil protein; cationic lipid; lipoproteoplexes; gene delivery; supercharge
9.  Tough and Flexible CNT-Polymeric Hybrid Scaffolds for Engineering Cardiac Constructs 
Biomaterials  2014;35(26):7346-7354.
In the past few years, a considerable amount of effort has been devoted toward the development of biomimetic scaffolds for cardiac tissue engineering. However, most of the previous scaffolds have been electrically insulating or lacked the structural and mechanical robustness to engineer cardiac tissue constructs with suitable electrophysiological functions. Here, we developed tough and flexible hybrid scaffolds with enhanced electrical properties composed of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) embedded aligned poly(glycerol sebacate):gelatin (PG) electrospun nanofibers. Incorporation of varying concentrations of CNTs from 0 to 1.5% within the PG nanofibrous scaffolds (CNT-PG scaffolds) notably enhanced fiber alignment and improved the electrical conductivity and toughness of the scaffolds while maintaining the viability, retention, alignment, and contractile activities of cardiomyocytes (CMs) seeded on the scaffolds. The resulting CNT-PG scaffolds resulted in stronger spontaneous and synchronous beating behavior (3.5-fold lower excitation threshold and 2.8-fold higher maximum capture rate) compared to those cultured on PG scaffold. Overall, our findings demonstrated that aligned CNT-PG scaffold exhibited superior mechanical properties with enhanced CM beating properties. It is envisioned that the proposed hybrid scaffolds can be useful for generating cardiac tissue constructs with improved organization and maturation.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.05.014
PMCID: PMC4114042  PMID: 24927679
Cardiac tissue engineering; Scaffold; Cardiomyocyte; poly(glycerol sebacate):gelatin; Nanoparticles
10.  Sustained localized presentation of RNA interfering molecules from in situ forming hydrogels to guide stem cell osteogenic differentiation 
Biomaterials  2014;35(24):6278-6286.
To date, RNA interfering molecules have been used to differentiate stem cells on two-dimensional (2D) substrates that do not mimic three-dimensional (3D) microenvironments in the body. Here, in situ forming poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogels were engineered for controlled, localized and sustained delivery of RNA interfering molecules to differentiate stem cells encapsulated within the 3D polymer network. RNA interfering molecules were released from the hydrogels in a sustained and controlled manner over the course of 3-6 weeks, and exhibited high bioactivity. Importantly, it was demonstrated that the delivery of siRNA and/or miRNA from the hydrogel constructs enhanced the osteogenic differentiation of encapsulated stem cells. Prolonged delivery of siRNA and/or miRNA from this polymeric scaffold permitted extended regulation of cell behavior, unlike traditional siRNA experiments performed in vitro. This approach presents a powerful new methodology for controlling cell fate, and is promising for multiple applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.04.048
PMCID: PMC4157362  PMID: 24831973
Biomaterials; Mesenchymal stem cells; Tissue engineering; Gene delivery; Bone regeneration
11.  The Performance of Cross-linked Acellular Arterial Scaffolds as Vascular Grafts; Pre-clinical Testing in Direct and Isolation Loop Circulatory Models 
Biomaterials  2014;35(24):6311-6322.
There is a significant need for small diameter vascular grafts to be used in peripheral vascular surgery; however autologous grafts are not always available, synthetic grafts perform poorly and allografts and xenografts degenerate, dilate and calcify after implantation. We hypothesized that chemical stabilization of acellular xenogenic arteries would generate off-the-shelf grafts resistant to thrombosis, dilatation and calcification. To test this hypothesis, we decellularized porcine renal arteries, stabilized elastin with penta-galloyl glucose and collagen with carbodiimide / activated heparin and implanted them as transposition grafts in the abdominal aorta of rats as direct implants and separately as indirect, isolation-loop implants. All implants resulted in high patency and animal survival rates, ubiquitous encapsulation within a vascularized collagenous capsule, and exhibited lack of lumen thrombogenicity and no graft wall calcification. Peri-anastomotic neo-intimal tissue overgrowth was a normal occurrence in direct implants; however this reaction was circumvented in indirect implants. Notably, implantation of non-treated control scaffolds exhibited marked graft dilatation and elastin degeneration; however PGG significantly reduced elastin degradation and prevented aneurismal dilatation of vascular grafts. Overall these results point to the outstanding potential of crosslinked arterial scaffolds as small diameter vascular grafts.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.04.062
PMCID: PMC4048826  PMID: 24816365
12.  The effect of inflammatory cell-derived MCP-1 loss on neuronal survival during chronic neuroinflammation 
Biomaterials  2014;35(25):6698-6706.
Intracranial implants elicit neurodegeneration via the foreign body response (FBR) that includes BBB leakage, macrophage/microglia accumulation, and reactive astrogliosis, in addition to neuronal degradation that limit their useful lifespan. Previously, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1, also CCL2), which plays an important role in monocyte recruitment and propagation of inflammation, was shown to be critical for various aspects of the FBR in a tissue-specific manner. However, participation of MCP-1 in the brain FBR has not been evaluated. Here we examined the FBR to intracortical silicon implants in MCP-1 KO mice at 1, 2, and 8 weeks after implantation. MCP-1 KO mice had a diminished FBR compared to WT mice, characterized by reductions in BBB leakage, macrophage/microglia accumulation, and astrogliosis, and an increased neuronal density. Moreover, pharmacological inhibition of MCP-1 in implant-bearing WT mice maintained the increased neuronal density. To elucidate the relative contribution of microglia and macrophages, bone marrow chimeras were generated between MCP-1 KO and WT mice. Increased neuronal density was observed only in MCP-1 knockout mice transplanted with MCP-1 knockout marrow, which indicates that resident cells in the brain are major contributors. We hypothesized that these improvements are the result of a phenotypic switch of the macrophages/microglia polarization state, which we confirmed using PCR for common activation markers. Our observations suggest that MCP-1 influences neuronal loss, which is integral to the progression of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease, via BBB leakage and macrophage polarization.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.05.008
PMCID: PMC4128094  PMID: 24881026
Foreign body response; MCP-1; Neurodegeneration; microglia polarization
13.  Macrophage polarization in response to ECM coated polypropylene mesh 
Biomaterials  2014;35(25):6838-6849.
The host response to implanted biomaterials is a highly regulated process that influences device functionality and clinical outcome. Non-degradable biomaterials, such as knitted polypropylene mesh, frequently elicit a chronic foreign body reaction with resultant fibrosis. Previous studies have shown that an extracellular matrix (ECM) hydrogel coating of polypropylene mesh reduces the intensity of the foreign body reaction, though the mode of action is unknown. Macrophage participation plays a key role in the development of the foreign body reaction to biomaterials, and therefore the present study investigated macrophage polarization following mesh implantation. Spatiotemporal analysis of macrophage polarization was conducted in response to uncoated polypropylene mesh and mesh coated with hydrated and dry forms of ECM hydrogels derived from either dermis or urinary bladder. Pro-inflammatory M1 macrophages (CD86+/CD68+), alternatively activated M2 macrophages (CD206+/CD68+), and foreign body giant cells were quantified between 3-35 days. Uncoated polypropylene mesh elicited a dominant M1 response at the mesh fiber surface, which was decreased by each ECM coating type beginning at 7 days. The diminished M1 response was accompanied by a reduction in the number of foreign body giant cells at 14 and 35 days, though there was a minimal effect upon the number of M2 macrophages at any time. These results show that ECM coatings attenuate the M1 macrophage response and increase the M2/M1 ratio to polypropylene mesh in vivo.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.04.115
PMCID: PMC4347831  PMID: 24856104
14.  Controlled Release and Gradient Formation of Human Glial-Cell Derived Neurotrophic Factor from Heparinated Poly(ethylene glycol) Microsphere-based Scaffolds 
Biomaterials  2014;35(24):6473-6481.
Introduction of spatial patterning of proteins, while retaining activity and releasability, is critical for the field of regenerative medicine. Reversible binding to heparin, which many biological molecules exhibit, is one potential pathway to achieving this goal. We have covalently bound heparin to poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) microspheres to create useful spatial patterns of glial-cell derived human neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in scaffolds to promote peripheral nerve regeneration. Labeled GDNF was incubated with heparinated microspheres that were subsequently centrifuged into cylindrical scaffolds in distinct layers containing different concentrations of GDNF. The GDNF was then allowed to diffuse out of the scaffold, and release was tracked via fluorescent scanning confocal microscopy. The measured release profile was compared to predicted Fickian models. Solutions of reaction-diffusion equations suggested the concentrations of GDNF in each discrete layer that would result in a nearly linear concentration gradient over much of the length of the scaffold. The agreement between the predicted and measured GDNF concentration gradients was high. Multilayer scaffolds with different amounts of heparin and GDNF and different crosslinking densities allow the design of a wide variety of gradients and release kinetics. Additionally, fabrication is much simpler and more robust than typical gradient-forming systems due to the low viscosity of the microsphere solutions compared to gelating solutions, which can easily result in premature gelation or the trapping of air bubbles with a nerve guidance conduit. The microsphere-based method provides a framework for producing specific growth factor gradients in conduits designed to enhance nerve regeneration.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.04.027
PMCID: PMC4037386  PMID: 24816282
microsphere; hydrogel; gradient; release; heparin; GDNF
15.  The potential of label-free nonlinear optical molecular microscopy to non-invasively characterize the viability of engineered human tissue constructs 
Biomaterials  2014;35(25):6667-6676.
Nonlinear optical molecular imaging and quantitative analytic methods were developed to non-invasively assess the viability of tissue-engineered constructs manufactured from primary human cells. Label-free optical measures of local tissue structure and biochemistry characterized morphologic and functional differences between controls and stressed constructs. Rigorous statistical analysis accounted for variability between human patients. Fluorescence intensity-based spatial assessment and metabolic sensing differentiated controls from thermally-stressed and from metabolically-stressed constructs. Fluorescence lifetime-based sensing differentiated controls from thermally-stressed constructs. Unlike traditional histological (found to be generally reliable, but destructive) and biochemical (non-invasive, but found to be unreliable) tissue analyses, label-free optical assessments had the advantages of being both non-invasive and reliable. Thus, such optical measures could serve as reliable manufacturing release criteria for cell-based tissue-engineered constructs prior to human implantation, thereby addressing a critical regulatory need in regenerative medicine.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.04.080
PMCID: PMC4106121  PMID: 24854093
Tissue engineering; Label-free optical molecular imaging; Tissue viability; Oral mucosa; Multiphoton excitation microscopy; Second-harmonic generation (SHG) imaging; Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM)
16.  Folding Graft Copolymer with Pedant Drug Segment for Co-Delivery of Anticancer Drugs 
Biomaterials  2014;35(25):7194-7203.
A graft copolymer with pendant drug segment can fold into nanostructures in a protein folding-like manner. The graft copolymer is constructed by directly polymerizing γ-camptothecin-glutamate N-carboxyanhydride (Glu(CPT)-NCA) on multiple sites of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)-based main chain via the ring open polymerization (ROP). The “purely” conjugated anticancer agent camptothecin (CPT) is hydrophobic and serves as the principal driving force during the folding process. When exposed to water, the obtained copolymer, together with doxorubicin (Dox), another anticancer agent, can fold into monodispersed nanocarriers (with a diameter of around 50 nm) for dual-drug delivery. Equipped with a PEG shell, the nanocarriers displayed good stability and can be internalized by a variety of cancer cell lines via the lipid raft and clathrin-mediated endocytotic pathway without premature leakage, which showed a high synergetic activity of CPT and Dox toward various cancer cells. In vivo study validated that the nanocarriers exhibited strong accumulation in tumor sites and showed a prominent anticancer activity against the lung cancer xenograft mice model compared with free drugs.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.05.004
PMCID: PMC4107449  PMID: 24875756
graft copolymer; micelle; combination therapy; folding; ring open polymerization
17.  Articular chondrocytes and mesenchymal stem cells seeded on biodegradable scaffolds for the repair of cartilage in a rat osteochondral defect model 
Biomaterials  2014;35(26):7460-7469.
This work investigated the ability of co-cultures of articular chondrocytes and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to repair articular cartilage in osteochondral defects. Bovine articular chondrocytes and rat MSCs were seeded in isolation or in co-culture onto electrospun poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) scaffolds and implanted into an osteochondral defect in the trochlear groove of 12-week old Lewis rats. Additionally, a blank PCL scaffold and untreated defect were investigated. After 12 weeks, the extent of cartilage repair was analyzed through histological analysis, and the extent of bone healing was assessed by quantifying the total volume of mineralized bone in the defect through microcomputed tomography. Histological analysis revealed that the articular chondrocytes and co-cultures led to repair tissue that consisted of more hyaline-like cartilage tissue that was thicker and possessed more intense Safranin O staining. The MSC, blank PCL scaffolds, and empty treatment groups generally led to the formation of fibrocartilage repair tissue. Microcomputed tomography revealed that while there was an equivalent amount of mineralized bone formation in the MSC, blank PCL, and empty treatment groups, the defects treated with chondrocytes or co-cultures had negligible mineralized bone formation. Overall, even with a reduced number of chondrocytes, co-cultures led to an equal level of cartilage repair compared to the chondrocyte samples, thus demonstrating the potential for the use of co-cultures of articular chondrocytes and MSCs for the in vivo repair of cartilage defects.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.05.055
PMCID: PMC4109803  PMID: 24927682
Articular chondrocyte; Mesenchymal stem cell; Co-culture; Rat osteochondral defect; Cartilage regeneration
18.  The use of bi-layer silk fibroin scaffolds and small intestinal submucosa matrices to support bladder tissue regeneration in a rat model of spinal cord injury 
Biomaterials  2014;35(26):7452-7459.
Adverse side-effects associated with enterocystoplasty for neurogenic bladder reconstruction have spawned the need for the development of alternative graft substitutes. Bi-layer silk fibroin (SF) scaffolds and small intestinal submucosa (SIS) matrices were investigated for their ability to support bladder tissue regeneration and function in a rat model of spinal cord injury (SCI). Bladder augmentation was performed with each scaffold configuration in SCI animals for 10 wk of implantation and compared to non-augmented control groups (normal and SCI alone). Animals subjected to SCI alone exhibited a 72% survival rate (13/18) while SCI rats receiving SIS and bi-layer SF scaffolds displayed respective survival rates of 83% (10/12) and 75% (9/12) over the course of the study period. Histological (Masson’s trichrome analysis) and immunohistochemical (IHC) evaluations demonstrated both implant groups supported de novo formation of smooth muscle layers with contractile protein expression [α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and SM22α] as well as maturation of multi-layer urothelia expressing cytokeratin (CK) and uroplakin 3A proteins. Histomorphometric analysis revealed bi-layer SF and SIS scaffolds respectively reconstituted 64% and 56% of the level of α-SMA+ smooth muscle bundles present in SCI-alone controls, while similar degrees of CK+ urothelium across all experimental groups were detected. Parallel evaluations showed similar degrees of vascular area and synaptophysin+ boutons in all regenerated tissues compared to SCI-alone controls. In addition, improvements in certain urodynamic parameters in SCI animals, such as decreased peak intravesical pressure, following implantation with both matrix configurations were also observed. The data presented in this study detail the ability of acellular SIS and bi-layer SF scaffolds to support formation of innervated, vascularized smooth muscle and urothelial tissues in a neurogenic bladder model.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.05.044
PMCID: PMC4111136  PMID: 24917031
Bladder tissue engineering; Small intestine submucosa; Silk; Urinary tract
19.  Imaging of hepatocellular carcinoma patient-derived xenografts using 89Zr-labeled anti-glypican-3 monoclonal antibody 
Biomaterials  2014;35(25):6964-6971.
Imaging probes for early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are highly desired to overcome current diagnostic limitations which lead to poor prognosis. The membrane protein glypican-3 (GPC3) is a potential molecular target for early HCC detection as it is over-expressed in >50% of HCCs, and is associated with early hepatocarcinogenesis. We synthesized the positron emission tomography (PET) probe 89Zr-DFO-1G12 by bioconjugating and radiolabeling the anti-GPC3 monoclonal antibody (clone 1G12) with 89Zr, and evaluated its tumor-targeting capacity. In vitro, 89Zr-DFO-1G12 was specifically taken up into GPC3-positive HCC cells only, but not in the GPC3-negative prostate cancer cell line (PC3). In vivo, 89Zr-DFO-1G12 specifically accumulated in subcutaneous GPC3-positive HCC xenografts only, but not in PC3 xenografts. Importantly, 89Zr-DFO-1G12 delineated orthotopic HCC xenografts from surrounding normal liver, with tumor/liver (T/L) ratios of 6.65 ± 1.33 for HepG2, and 4.29 ± 0.52 for Hep3B xenografts. It also delineated orthotopic xenografts derived from three GPC3-positive HCC patient specimens, with T/L ratios of 4.21 ± 0.64, 2.78 ± 0.26, and 2.31 ± 0.38 at 168 h p.i. Thus, 89Zr-DFO-1G12 is a highly translatable probe for the specific and high contrast imaging of GPC3-positive HCCs, which may aid early detection of HCC to allow timely intervention.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.04.089
PMCID: PMC4363564  PMID: 24836949
Glypican-3; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Immuno-PET; 89Zr; Molecular imaging
20.  The Effect of Hyperbranched Polyglycerol Coatings on Drug Delivery Using Degradable Polymer Nanoparticles 
Biomaterials  2014;35(24):6595-6602.
A key attribute for nanoparticles (NPs) that are used in medicine is the ability to avoid rapid uptake by phagocytic cells in the liver and other tissues. Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) coatings has been the gold standard in this regard for several decades. Here, we examined hyperbranched polyglycerols (HPG) as an alternate coating on NPs. In earlier work, HPG was modified with amines and subsequently conjugated to poly(lactic acid) (PLA), but that approach compromised the ability of HPG to resist non-specific adsorptions of biomolecules. Instead, we synthesized a copolymer of PLA-HPG by a one-step esterification. NPs were produced from a single emulsion using PLA-HPG: fluorescent dye or the anti-tumor agent camptothecin (CPT) were encapsulated at high efficiency in the NPs. PLA-HPG NPs were quantitatively compared to PLA-PEG NPs, produced using approaches that have been extensively optimized for drug delivery in humans. Despite being similar in size, drug release profile and in vitro cytotoxicity, the PLA-HPG NPs showed significantly longer blood circulation and significantly less liver accumulation than PLA-PEG. CPT-loaded PLA-HPG NPs showed higher stability in suspension and better therapeutic effectiveness against tumors in vivo than CPT-loaded PLA-PEG NPs. Our results suggest that HPG is superior to PEG as a surface coating for NPs in drug delivery.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.04.038
PMCID: PMC4062180  PMID: 24816286
Surface coating; nanoparticles; camptothecin; hyperbranched polyglycerol; polylactic acid
21.  The effects of confinement on neuronalgrowth cone morphology and velocity 
Biomaterials  2014;35(25):6750-6757.
Optimizing growth cone guidance through the use of patterned substrates is important for designing regenerative substrates to aid in recovery from neuronal injury. Using laser ablation, we designed micron-scale patterns capable of confining dissociated mouse cerebellar granule neuron growth cones to channels of different widths ranging from 1.5 to 12 μm. Growth cone dynamics in these channels were observed using time lapse microscopy. Growth cone area was decreased in channels between 1.5 and 6 μm as compared to that in 12 μm and unpatterned substrates. Growth cone aspect ratio was also affected as narrower channels forced growth cones into a narrow, elongated shape. There was no difference in the overall rate of growth cone advance in uniform channels between 1.5 and 12 μm as compared to growth on unpatterned substrates. The percentage of time growth cones advanced, paused, and retracted was also similar. However, growth cones did respond to changes in confinement: growth cones in narrow lanes rapidly sped up when encountering a wide region and then slowed down as they entered another narrow region. Our results suggest that the rate of neurite extension is not affected by the degree of confinement, but does respond to changes in confinement.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.04.097
PMCID: PMC4075440  PMID: 24840617
Neural cell; polyvinylalcohol; nerve regeneration; laminin; laser ablation
22.  Turning a Water And Oil Insoluble Cisplatin Derivative into a Nanoparticle Formulation for Cancer Therapy 
Biomaterials  2014;35(26):7647-7653.
The formulation of water insoluble organic compounds into nanoparticles has become a widely established method for enhancing the delivery and efficacy of cancer therapeutics. Therefore, a comparable approach when applied to water insoluble inorganic compounds should also promote similar advantages. Herein, we have successfully formulated insoluble iodinated cisplatin (CDDP-I) into a LPI NPs (lipid-coated iodinated CDDP nanoparticles). Two separate microemulsions were combined, each containing a precursor for the synthesis of CDDP-I. The resulting CDDP-I precipitate was then coated with an anionic lipid and dispersed in water with the help of an additional lipid. This method allows us to effectively encapsulate CDDP-I and was able to achieve a considerable drug loading of 82 wt%. Administered LPI NPs demonstrated high level accumulation in tumor tissues and exhibited an anti-cancer activity comparable to free CDDP in two melanoma xenograft models without inducing nephrotoxocity. The benefits offered through this delivery formulation are not unique to CDDP-I, as this versatile platform may be extended to the formulation of other inorganic compounds that are both water and oil insoluble into nanoparticles for superior anticancer efficacy.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.05.045
PMCID: PMC4076841  PMID: 24920436
Cisplatin; Nanoparticle; Inorganic drug; Liposome
23.  Bioactivity and circulation time of PEGylated NELL-1 in mice and the potential for osteoporosis therapy 
Biomaterials  2014;35(24):6614-6621.
Osteoporosis is a progressive bone disease due to low osteoblast activity and/or high osteoclast activity. NELL-1 is a potential therapy for osteoporosis because it specifically increases osteoblast differentiation. However, similar to other protein drugs, the bioavailability of NELL-1 may be limited by its in vivo half-life and rapid clearance from body. The purpose of the present study is to prolong NELL-1 circulation time in vivo by PEGylation with three monomeric PEG sizes (5, 20, 40 kDa). While linear PEG 5k yielded the most efficient PEGylation and the most thermally stable conjugate, linear PEG 20k resulted in the conjugate with the highest Mw and longest in vivo circulation. Compared to non-modified NELL-1, all three PEGylated conjugates showed enhanced thermal stability and each prolonged the in vivo circulation time significantly. Furthermore, PEGylated NELL-1 retained its osteoblastic activity without any appreciable cytotoxicity. These findings motivate further studies to evaluate the efficacy of PEGylated NELL-1 on the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.04.061
PMCID: PMC4077898  PMID: 24818884
NELL-1; PEGylation; Characterization; Bioactivity; Circulation time
24.  A comparison of bone regeneration with human mesenchymal stem cells and muscle derived stem cells and the critical role of BMP 
Biomaterials  2014;35(25):6859-6870.
Adult multipotent stem cells have been isolated from a variety of human tissues including human skeletal muscle, which represent an easily accessible source of stem cells. It has been shown that human skeletal muscle-derived stem cells (hMDSCs) are muscle derived mesenchymal stem cells capable of multipotent differentiation. Although hMDSCs can undergo osteogenic differentiation and form bone when genetically modified to express BMP2; it is still unclear whether hMDSCs are as efficient as human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBMMSCs) for bone regeneration. The current study aimed to address this question by performing a parallel comparison between hMDSCs and hBMMSCs to evaluate their osteogenic and bone regeneration capacities. Our results demonstrated that hMDSCs and hBMMSCs had similar osteogenic-related gene expression profiles and had similar osteogenic differentiation capacities in vitro when transduced to express BMP2. Both the untransduced hMDSCs and hBMMSCs formed very negligible amounts of bone in the critical sized bone defect model when using a fibrin sealant scaffold; however, when genetically modified with lenti-BMP2, both populations successfully regenerated bone in the defect area. No significant differences were found in the newly formed bone volumes and bone defect coverage between the hMDSC and hBMMSC groups. Although both cell types formed mature bone tissue by 6 weeks post-implantation, the newly formed bone in the hMDSCs group underwent quicker remodeling than the hBMMSCs group. In conclusion, our results demonstrated that hMDSCs are as efficient as hBMMSCs in terms of their bone regeneration capacity; however, both cell types required genetic modification with BMP in order to regenerate bone in vivo.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.04.113
PMCID: PMC4101694  PMID: 24856105
human muscle-derived stem cells; human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells; BMP2; lentivirus; calvarial defect; bone tissue engineering
25.  A PEG-Fmoc conjugate as a nanocarrier for paclitaxel 
Biomaterials  2014;35(25):7146-7156.
We report here that a simple, well-defined, and easy-to-scale up nanocarrier, PEG5000-lysyl-(α-Fmoc-ε-t-Boc-lysine)2 conjugate (PEG-Fmoc), provides high loading capacity, excellent formulation stability and low systemic toxicity for paclitaxel (PTX), a first-line chemotherapeutic agent for various types of cancers. 9-Fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl (Fmoc) was incorporated into the nanocarrier as a functional building block to interact with drug molecules. PEG-Fmoc was synthesized via a three-step synthetic route, and it readily interacted with PTX to form mixed nanomicelles of small particle size (25–30 nm). The PTX loading capacity was about 36%, which stands well among the reported micellar systems. PTX entrapment in this micellar system is achieved largely via an Fmoc/PTX π-π stacking interaction, which was demonstrated by fluorescence quenching studies and 13C-NMR. PTX formulated in PEG-Fmoc micelles demonstrated sustained release kinetics, and in vivo distribution study via near infrared fluorescence imaging demonstrated an effective delivery of Cy5.5-labled PTX to tumor sites. The maximal tolerated dose for PTX/PEG-Fmoc (MTD > 120 mg PTX/kg) is higher than those for most reported PTX formulations, and in vivo therapeutic study exhibited a significantly improved antitumor activity than Taxol, a clinically used formulation of PTX. Our system may hold promise as a simple, safe, and effective delivery system for PTX with a potential for rapid translation into clinical study.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.04.108
PMCID: PMC4102141  PMID: 24856103
micelle; 9-Fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl; drug-carrier interaction; paclitaxel; drug delivery; cancer therapy

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