After assessing cell viability (CV), tissue-engineered constructs are often discarded, as current CV assays commonly require specific (fluorescent) dyes to stain cells and may need scaffold/tissue digestion before quantifying the live and dead cells. Here, we demonstrate and evaluate how cellular auto-fluorescence can be exploited to facilitate a noninvasive CV estimation in three-dimensional scaffolds using two advanced microscopy methods. Mixtures of live and dead C2C12 myoblasts (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% live cells) were prepared, and CV was determined before seeding cells into collagen carriers using the trypan blue (TB) assay. Cell-seeded collagen gels ([CSCGs], n=5/cell mixture) were produced by mixing collagen solution with the live/dead cell mixtures (7×106 cells/mL). After polymerization, two-photon microscopy (TPM) and confocal microscopy images of the CSCG were acquired (n=30 images/CSCG). It was found that live and dead cells systematically emit auto-fluorescent light with different spectral characteristics. Viable cells showed predominantly blue fluorescence with a peak emission around 470 nm, whereas dead cells appeared to mainly emit green fluorescent light with a peak intensity around 560 nm. For TPM, live and dead cells were distinguished spectrally. For confocal images, the intensity ratio of images taken with band-pass filters was used to distinguish live from dead cells. CV values obtained with both TPM and confocal imaging did not significantly differ from those acquired with the established TB method. In comparison to TPM, confocal microscopy was found to be less accurate in assessing the exact CV in constructs containing mostly live or dead cells. In summary, monitoring cellular auto-fluorescence using advanced microscopy techniques allows CV assessment requiring no additional dyes and/or scaffold digestion and, thus, may be especially suitable for tissue-engineering studies where CV is measured at multiple time points.
Mechanical stimulation has been shown to impact the properties of engineered hyaline cartilage constructs and is relevant for engineering of cartilage and osteochondral tissues. Most mechanical stimulators developed to date emphasize precision over adaptability to standard tissue culture equipment and protocols. The realization of mechanical characteristics in engineered constructs approaching native cartilage requires the optimization of complex variables (type of stimulus, regimen, and bimolecular signals). We have proposed and validated a stimulator design that focuses on high construct capacity, compatibility with tissue culture plastic ware, and regimen adaptability to maximize throughput. This design utilizes thin force sensors in lieu of a load cell and a linear encoder to verify position. The implementation of an individual force sensor for each sample enables the measurement of Young's modulus while stimulating the sample. Removable and interchangeable Teflon plungers mounted using neodymium magnets contact each sample. Variations in plunger height and design can vary the strain and force type on individual samples. This allows for the evaluation of a myriad of culture conditions and regimens simultaneously. The system was validated using contact accuracy, and Young's modulus measurements range as key parameters. Contact accuracy for the system was excellent within 1.16% error of the construct height in comparison to measurements made with a micrometer. Biomaterials ranging from bioceramics (cancellous bone, 123 MPa) to soft gels (1% agarose, 20 KPa) can be measured without any modification to the device. The accuracy of measurements in conjunction with the wide range of moduli tested demonstrate the unique characteristics of the device and the feasibility of using this device in mapping real-time changes to Young's modulus of tissue constructs (cartilage, bone) through the developmental phases in ex vivo culture conditions.
An abundant cell source is the cornerstone of most tissue engineering strategies, but extracting cells from the knee meniscus is hindered by its dense fibrocartilaginous matrix. Identifying a method to efficiently isolate meniscus cells is important, as it can reduce the cost and effort required to perform meniscus engineering research. In this study, six enzymatic digestion regimens used for cartilaginous cell isolation were used to isolate cells from the outer, middle, and inner regions of the bovine knee meniscus. Each regimen in each region was assessed in terms of cell yield, impact on cell phenotype, and cytotoxicity. All digestion regimens caused an overall upregulation of cartilage-specific genes Sox9, collagen type I (Col 1), collagen type II (Col 2), cartilage oligomeric matrix protein, and aggrecan (AGC) in cells from all meniscus regions, but was highest for cells isolated using 1075 U/mL of collagenase for 3 h (high collagenase). In response to isolation, outer meniscus cells showed highest upregulation of Sox9 and Col 1 genes, whereas greatest upregulation for middle meniscus cells was seen in Col 1 expression, and Col 2 expression for inner cells. Cell yield was highest in all regions when subjected to 45 min of 61 U/mL pronase followed by 3 h of 1075 U/mL collagenase (pronase/collagenase [P/C]) digestion regimen (outer: 6.57±0.37, middle: 12.77±1.41, inner: 22.17±1.47×106 cells/g tissue). The second highest cell yield was achieved using the low collagenase (LC) digestion regimen that applied 433 U/mL of collagenase for 18 h (outer: 1.95±0.54, middle: 3.3±4.4, inner: 6.06±2.44×106 cells/g tissue). Cytotoxicity analysis showed higher cell death in the LC group compared with the P/C group. Self-assembled constructs formed from LC-isolated cells were less dense than constructs formed from P/C-isolated cells, and P/C constructs showed higher glycosaminoglycan content and compressive moduli than LC constructs. All isolation methods tested resulted in similar phenotypic changes in meniscus cells from each region. These results indicate that, compared with other common isolation protocols, the P/C isolation method is able to more efficiently isolate meniscus cells from all regions that can produce tissue engineered constructs.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been clinically used as an easily prepared growth factor cocktail that can promote wound healing, angiogenesis, and tissue remodeling. However, the therapeutic effects of PRP are still controversial, due partly to the lack of optimized and standardized preparation protocols. We used whole blood (WB) samples to optimize the preparation protocols for PRP, white blood cell-containing (W-PRP), platelet-concentrated plasma (PCP), and noncoagulating platelet-derived factor concentrate (PFC). PRP and W-PRP were most efficiently collected by 10 min centrifugation in a 15-mL conical tube at 230–270 g and 70 g, respectively. To prepare PCP, platelets were precipitated by centrifugation of PRP at >2300 g, 90% of supernatant plasma was removed, and the platelets were resuspended. For preparation of noncoagulating PFC, the supernatant was replaced with one-tenth volume of saline, followed by platelet activation with thrombin. Platelet (before activation) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB (after activation) concentrations in PCP were approximately 20 times greater than those in WB, whereas PFC contained a 20-times greater concentration of platelets before platelet activation and a 50-times greater concentration of PDGF-BB without formation of a fibrin gel after platelet activation than WB. Surprisingly, total PDGF-BB content in the PFC was twice that of activated WB, which suggested that a substantial portion of the PDGF-BB became trapped in the fibrin glue, and replacement of plasma with saline is crucial for maximization of platelet-derived factors. As an anticoagulant, ethylene di-amine tetra-acetic acid disodium inhibited platelet aggregation more efficiently than acid citrate dextrose solution, resulting in higher nonaggregated platelet yield and final PDGF-BB content. These results increase our understanding of how to optimize and standardize preparation of platelet-derived factors at maximum concentrations.
The goal of this study is to evaluate the ability of a bimodal technique integrating time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy (TRFS) and ultrasound backscatter microscopy (UBM) for nondestructive detection of changes in the biochemical, structural, and mechanical properties of self-assembled engineered articular cartilage constructs. The cartilage constructs were treated with three chemical agents (collagenase, chondroitinase-ABC, and ribose) to induce changes in biochemical content (collagen and glycosaminoglycan [GAG]) of matured constructs (4 weeks); and to subsequently alter the mechanical properties of the construct. The biochemical changes were evaluated using TRFS. The microstructure and the thickness of the engineered cartilage samples were characterized by UBM. The optical and ultrasound results were validated against those acquired via conventional techniques including collagen and GAG quantification and measurement of construct stiffness. Current results demonstrated that a set of optical parameters (e.g., average fluorescence lifetime and decay constants) showed significant correlation (p<0.05) with biochemical and mechanical data. The high-resolution ultrasound images provided complementary cross-section information of the cartilage samples morphology. Therefore, the technique was capable of nondestructively evaluating the composition of extracellular matrix and the microstructure of engineered tissue, demonstrating great potential as an alternative to traditional destructive assays.
Periodontitis is a disease affecting the supporting structures of the teeth, which can eventually result in tooth loss. A three-dimensional (3D) tissue culture model was developed that may serve to grow a 3D construct that not only transplants into defective periodontal sites, but also allows to examine the effect of mechanical load in vitro. In the current in vitro study, green fluorescent protein labeled periodontal ligament (PDL) cells form rat incisors were embedded in a 3D matrix and exposed to mechanical loading alone, to a chemical stimulus (Emdogain; enamel matrix derivative [EMD]) alone, or a combination of both. Loading consisted of unilateral stretching (8%, 1 Hz) and was applied for 1, 3, or 5 days. Results showed that PDL cells were distributed and randomly oriented within the artificial PDL space in static culture. On mechanical loading, the cells showed higher cell numbers. Moreover, cells realigned perpendicular to the stretching force depending on time and position, with great analogy to natural PDL tissue. EMD application gave a significant effect on growth and upregulated bone sialoprotein (BSP) and collagen type-I (Col-I), whereas Runx-2 was downregulated. This implies that PDL cells under loading might tend to act similar to bone-like cells (BSP and Col-I) but at the same time, react tendon like (Runx-2). The combination of chemical and mechanical stimulation seems possible, but does not show synergistic effects. In this study, a new model was successfully introduced in the field of PDL-related regenerative research. Besides validating the 3D model to mimic an authentic PDL space, it also provided a useful and well-controlled approach to study cell response to mechanical loading and other stimuli.
A biodegradable elastomeric scaffold was created by electrospinning a mixed solution of poly(ester urethane)urea (PEUU) and porcine dermal extracellular matrix (dECM) digest, with PEUU included to provide elasticity, flexibility, and mechanical support and dECM used to enhance bioactivity and biocompatibility. Micrographs and differential scanning calorimetry demonstrated partial miscibility between PEUU and dECM. With greater dECM content, scaffolds were found to possess lower breaking strains and suture retention strength, although initial modulus was greater with higher dECM concentrations. The hybrid scaffolds containing 0% to 50% dECM had tensile strengths of 5 to 7 MPa, breaking strains of 138% to 611%, initial moduli of 3 to 11 Mpa, and suture retention strengths of 35 to 59 MPa. When hydrated, scaffolds were found to contract markedly with 50% dECM content. When used in a rat full-thickness abdominal wall replacement model, no herniation, infection, or tissue adhesion was observed after 4 and 8 weeks with a scaffold containing 25% dECM or a control 100% PEUU scaffold. Scaffolds incorporating dECM were significantly thicker at the time of explant, with greater numbers of associated smooth muscle actin–positive staining cells than in the control, but minimal cellular infiltration and remodeling of the scaffold were detected regardless of dECM addition. The processing of dECM and PEUU from a mixed solution thus provided a scaffold with evidence of better bioactivity and with mechanical properties not achievable with digested dECM alone.
Continuous production of red blood cells (RBCs) in an automated closed culture system using hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) progenitor cell populations is of interest for clinical application because of the high demand for blood transfusions. Previously, we introduced a four-compartment bioreactor that consisted of two bundles of hollow fiber microfiltration membranes for transport of culture medium (forming two medium compartments), interwoven with one bundle of hollow fiber membranes for transport of oxygen (O2), carbon dioxide (CO2), and other gases (forming one gas compartment). Small-scale prototypes were developed of the three-dimensional (3D) perfusion cell culture systems, which enable convection-based mass transfer and integral oxygenation in the cell compartment. CD34+ HSC were isolated from human cord blood units using a magnetic separation procedure. Cells were inoculated into 2- or 8-mL scaled-down versions of the previously designed 800-mL cell compartment devices and perfused with erythrocyte proliferation and differentiation medium. First, using the small-scale 2-mL analytical scale bioreactor, with an initial seeding density of 800,000 cells/mL, we demonstrated approximately 100-fold cell expansion and differentiation after 7 days of culture. An 8-mL laboratory-scale bioreactor was then used to show pseudocontinuous production by intermediately harvesting cells. Subsequently, we were able to use a model to demonstrate semicontinuous production with up to 14,288-fold expansion using seeding densities of 800,000 cells/mL. The down-scaled culture technology allows for expansion of CD34+ cells and stimulating these progenitors towards RBC lineage, expressing approximately 40% CD235+ and enucleation. The 3D perfusion technology provides an innovative tool for studies on RBC production, which is scalable.
Skin has a remarkable capacity for regeneration, but age- and diabetes-related vascular problems lead to chronic non-healing wounds for many thousands of U.K. patients. There is a need for new therapeutic approaches to treat these resistant wounds. Donor mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) have been shown to assist cutaneous wound healing by accelerating re-epithelialization. The aim of this work was to devise a low risk and convenient delivery method for transferring these cells to wound beds. Plasma polymerization was used to functionalize the surface of medical-grade silicone with acrylic acid. Cells attached well to these carriers, and culture for up to 3 days on the carriers did not significantly affect their phenotype or ability to support vascular tubule formation. These carriers were then used to transfer MSCs onto human dermis. Cell transfer was confirmed using an MTT assay to assess viable cell numbers and enhanced green fluorescent protein–labeled MSCs to demonstrate that the cells post-transfer attached to the dermis. We conclude that this synthetic carrier membrane is a promising approach for delivery of therapeutic MSCs and opens the way for future studies to evaluate its impact on repairing difficult skin wounds.
To further differentiate adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) into mature adipocytes and create three-dimensional (3D) adipose tissue in vitro, we applied multicompartment hollow fiber-based bioreactor technology with decentral mass exchange for more physiological substrate gradients and integral oxygenation. We hypothesize that a dynamic 3D perfusion in such a bioreactor will result in longer-term culture of human adipocytes in vitro, thus providing metabolically active tissue serving as a diagnostic model for screening drugs to treat diabetes. ASCs were isolated from discarded human abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue and then inoculated into dynamic 3D culture bioreactors to undergo adipogenic differentiation. Insulin-stimulated glucose uptake from the medium was assessed with and without TNF-alpha. 3D adipose tissue was generated in the 3D-bioreactors. Immunohistochemical staining indicated that 3D-bioreactor culture displayed multiple mature adipocyte markers with more unilocular morphologies as compared with two-dimensional (2D) cultures. Results of real-time polymerase chain reaction showed 3D-bioreactor treatment had more efficient differentiation in fatty acid-binding protein 4 expression. Repeated insulin stimulation resulted in increased glucose uptake, with a return to baseline between testing. Importantly, TNF-alpha inhibited glucose uptake, an indication of the metabolic activity of the tissue. 3D bioreactors allow more mature adipocyte differentiation of ASCs compared with traditional 2D culture and generate adipose tissue in vitro for up to 2 months. Reproducible metabolic activity of the adipose tissue in the bioreactor was demonstrated, which is potentially useful for drug discovery. We present here, to the best of our knowledge for the first time, the development of a coherent 3D high density fat-like tissue consisting of unilocular structure from primary adipose stem cells in vitro.
Osteochondral defects are prone to induce osteoarthritic degenerative changes. Many tissue-engineering approaches that aim to generate osteochondral implants suffer from poor tissue formation and compromised integration. This illustrates the need for further improvement of heterogeneous tissue constructs. Engineering of these structures is expected to profit from strategies addressing the complexity of tissue organization and the simultaneous use of multiple cell types. Moreover, this enables the investigation of the effects of three-dimensional (3D) organization and architecture on tissue function. In the present study, we characterize the use of a 3D fiber deposition (3DF) technique for the fabrication of cell-laden, heterogeneous hydrogel constructs for potential use as osteochondral grafts. Changing fiber spacing or angle of fiber deposition yielded scaffolds of varying porosity and elastic modulus. We encapsulated and printed fluorescently labeled human chondrocytes and osteogenic progenitors in alginate hydrogel yielding scaffolds of 1×2 cm with different parts for both cell types. Cell viability remained high throughout the printing process, and cells remained in their compartment of the printed scaffold for the whole culture period. Moreover, distinctive tissue formation was observed, both in vitro after 3 weeks and in vivo (6 weeks subcutaneously in immunodeficient mice), at different locations within one construct. These results demonstrate the possibility of manufacturing viable centimeter-scaled structured tissues by the 3DF technique, which could potentially be used for the repair of osteochondral defects.
Although several treatments for cartilage repair have been developed and used in clinical practice the last 20 years, little is known about the mechanisms that are involved in the formation of repair tissue after these treatments. Often, these treatments result in the formation of fibrocartilaginous tissue rather than normal articular cartilage. Because the repair tissue is inferior to articular cartilage in terms of mechanical properties and zonal organization of the extracellular matrix, complaints of the patient may return. The biological and functional outcome of these treatments should thus be improved. For this purpose, an in vitro model allowing investigation of the involved repair mechanisms can be of great value. We present the development of such a model. We used bovine osteochondral biopsies and created a system in which cartilage defects of different depths can be studied. First, our biopsy model was characterized extensively: we studied the viability by means of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) excretion over time and we investigated expression of cartilage-related genes in osteochondral biopsies and compared it with conventional cartilage-only explants. After 28 days of culture, LDH was detected at low levels and mRNA could be retrieved. The expression of cartilage-related genes decreased over time. This was more evident in cartilage-only explants, indicating that the biopsy model provided a more stable environment. We also characterized the subchondral bone: osteoclasts and osteoblasts were active after 28 days of culture, which was indicated by tartrate acid phosphatase staining and alkaline phosphatase measurements, respectively, and matrix deposition during culture was visualized using calcein labeling. Second, the applicability of the model was further studied by testing two distinct settings: (1) implantation of chondrocytes in defects of different depths; (2) two different seeding strategies of chondrocytes. Differences were observed in terms of volume and integration of newly formed tissue in both settings, suggesting that our model can be used to model distinct conditions or even to mimic clinical treatments. After extensive characterization and testing of our model, we present a representative and reproducible in vitro model that can be used to evaluate new cartilage repair treatments and study mechanisms in a controlled and standardized environment.
The biological function of adherent cell populations strongly depends on the physical and biochemical properties of extracellular matrix molecules. Therefore, numerous biocompatible cell carriers have been developed to specifically influence cell attachment, proliferation, cellular differentiation, and tissue formation for diverse cell culture applications and cell-based therapies. In the present study, we evaluated the mechanical and the cell biological properties of a novel, thin, and planar collagen scaffold. The cell carrier is based on fibrillar bovine collagen type I and exhibits a low material thickness coupled with a high mechanical stability as measured by tensile tests. The influence of this new biomaterial on cell viability, proliferation, and cell differentiation was analyzed using 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) proliferation assay, immunocytochemistry, water-soluble tetrazolium salt-1 assay (WST-1), live cell imaging, and electron microscopy. Cell culture experiments with the human osteosarcoma cell line Saos-2, human mesenchymal stem cells, and rodent cardiomyocytes demonstrated the in vitro biocompatibility of this chemically noncrosslinked scaffold. Both the mechanical characteristics and the in vitro biocompatibility of this collagen type I carrier facilitate the engineering of thin transferable tissue constructs and offer new possibilities in the fields of cell culture techniques, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine.
The immunomodulatory properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) make them attractive therapeutic agents for a wide range of diseases. However, the highly demanding cell doses used in MSC clinical trials (up to millions of cells/kg patient) currently require labor intensive methods and incur high reagent costs. Moreover, the use of xenogenic (xeno) serum-containing media represents a risk of contamination and raises safety concerns. Bioreactor systems in combination with novel xeno-free medium formulations represent a viable alternative to reproducibly achieve a safe and reliable MSC doses relevant for cell therapy. The main goal of the present study was to develop a complete xeno-free microcarrier-based culture system for the efficient expansion of human MSC from two different sources, human bone marrow (BM), and adipose tissue. After 14 days of culture in spinner flasks, BM MSC reached a maximum cell density of (2.0±0.2)×105 cells·mL−1 (18±1-fold increase), whereas adipose tissue-derived stem cells expanded to (1.4±0.5)×105 cells·mL−1 (14±7-fold increase). After the expansion, MSC expressed the characteristic markers CD73, CD90, and CD105, whereas negative for CD80 and human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR. Expanded cells maintained the ability to differentiate robustly into osteoblast, adipocyte, and chondroblast lineages upon directed differentiation. These results demonstrated the feasibility of expanding human MSC in a scalable microcarrier-based stirred culture system under xeno-free conditions and represent an important step forward for the implementation of a Good Manufacturing Practices–compliant large-scale production system of MSC for cellular therapy.
Platelets are specialized cells produced by megakaryocytes in the bone marrow that represent the first defense against hemorrhage, yet they also play a pathological role in thrombosis, inflammation, and cancer. Millions of platelet transfusions are conducted each year, and the supply of this blood component is limited. There are many diseases where platelet production or function is impaired with severe consequences for patients. With such clinical need, new insight into the formation of platelets would have a major impact on patients and healthcare. We developed an innovative 3D system to study platelet production that represents the first spatial reconstruction of the bone marrow environment. In this system human megakaryocytes were able to migrate toward the vascular niche, extend proplatelets, and release functional platelets into vascular tubes. The combination of different bone marrow components and the compliance of silk-based vascular tubes makes this model a unique tool for the study of platelet formation and production for use in healthcare needs.
Clinically relevant mature cartilage cells (chondrocytes) present challenges for use in cartilage tissue engineering applications, given their low capacity for cell division and tissue production. Since the in situ environment of chondrocytes is hypertonic relative to standard culture medium conditions, in this study we tested the hypothesis that using culture medium of a hypertonic, more physiologic osmolarity during both two-dimensional (2D) expansion of mature bovine chondrocytes (MBCs) and their subsequent encapsulation culture in three-dimensional (3D) agarose hydrogel constructs produces improved engineered tissue construct mechanical and biochemical properties. Results demonstrate that 2D expansion of MBCs in hypertonic (NaCl) medium before encapsulation yielded improved construct mechanical properties. However, 3D encapsulation culture of cells in hypertonic (NaCl) medium yielded poorer construct mechanical properties. Osmolarity-related differences in construct biochemical content and organization may have contributed to differences in mechanical properties, as construct glycosaminoglycan content correlated moderately with construct mechanical properties, and construct collagen distribution varied between 3D osmotic culture groups. Results of this study suggest that application of hypertonic (NaCl) medium during 2D mature chondrocyte expansion, but not 3D encapsulated chondrocyte culture, may serve as a convenient and inexpensive method for improving mechanical properties of expanded cell-seeded constructs.
We created the first tissue-engineered vascular graft (TEVG) to be successfully used in humans. The TEVG is made by seeding autologous bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells (BM-MNCs) onto a biodegradable tubular scaffold fabricated from polyglycolic-acid mesh coated with a 50:50 copolymer of poly-L-lactide and–ɛ-caprolactone. In the initial clinical study, the BM-MNCs were isolated using a Ficoll density centrifugation method. Use of this cell isolation technique is problematic in that it is performed using an open system and therefore is susceptible to contamination. As a first step toward creating a closed system for assembling a TEVG, we evaluated the use of a filter-based method for isolating BM-MNCs and compared it to density centrifugation in Ficoll.
BM-MNCs were isolated from human BM using density centrifugation in Ficoll or a filter-based method. BM-MNCs were seeded onto biodegradable tubular scaffold and incubated for 24 h before implantation. The TEVG were implanted as inferior vena cava interposition grafts in SCID/bg mice (n=24) using microsurgical technique. Grafts were followed with ultrasonography and computed tomography–angiography. Ten weeks after implantation the TEVG were explanted and examined using histology and immunohistochemistry.
Both methods isolated similar number of cells (Ficoll: 8.5±6.6×106/mL, Filter: 6.6±3.5×106/mL; p=0.686) with similar viability as assayed using fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) (Ficoll: 97.0%±1.5%, Filter: 95.9%±3.0%; p=0.339). FACS analysis demonstrated that the fraction of lymphocytes and monocytes to total cells was lower in the filter group (CD4 in Ficoll: 8.9%±1.1%, CD4 in Filter: 3.5%±0.8%; p=0.002, CD8 in Ficoll: 9.4%±2.1%, CD8 in Filter: 3.9%±1.4%; p=0.021, Monocyte in Ficoll: 6.9%±1.0%, Monocyte in Filter: 2.7%±1.0%; p=0.008), consistent with granulocyte contamination (Ficoll: 46.6±2.7×106/mL, Filter: 58.1±5.2×106/mL; p<0.001). The ratio of stem cells to BM-MNCs was comparable between groups. There were no statistically significant differences with regard to TEVG patency and morphology between groups. Both methods of cell isolation produced neovessels with similar histology.
Filter-based BM-MNC isolation is comparable to BM-MNC isolation using density centrifugation in Ficoll for TEVG assembly. The filter-based cell isolation technique has the added advantage of the potential to create a closed disposable system.
The function of an implanted tissue-engineered pancreatic construct is influenced by many in vivo factors; however, assessing its function is based primarily on end physiologic effects. As oxygen significantly affects cell function, we established a dual perfluorocarbon method that utilizes 19F nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, with perfluorocarbons as oxygen concentration markers, to noninvasively monitor dissolved oxygen concentration (DO) in βTC-tet cell-containing alginate beads and at the implantation milieu. Beads were implanted in the peritoneal cavity of normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. Using this method, the feasibility of acquiring real-time in vivo DO measurements was demonstrated. Results showed that the mouse peritoneal environment is hypoxic and the DO is further reduced when βTC-tet cell constructs were implanted. The DO within cell-containing beads decreased considerably over time and could be correlated with the relative changes in the number of viable encapsulated cells. The reduction of construct DO due to the metabolic activity of the βTC-tet cells was also compatible with the implant therapeutic function, as observed in the reversal of hyperglycemia in diabetic mice. The importance of these findings in assessing implant functionality and host animal physiology is discussed.
Angiogenesis is of major interest because of its involvement in numerous pathologies or for promoting tissue repair. It is often assessed by the ability of endothelial cells to sprout, migrate, and form vascular tubules in Matrigel in vitro. Matrigel contains a mixture of basement membrane components, which stimulate endothelial cells to form capillary-like hexagonal structures, and is often preferred over other in vitro assays because of its ease of use, rapidity and the ability to measure key steps in angiogenesis, including migration, protease activity, and tubule formation. Various methods have been used to quantitate tubule formation, yet no consensus has been reached regarding the best quantification method for evaluating the efficacy of angiogenic stimulants or inhibitors in this Matrigel assay. Here, we have measured the ability of umbilical cord blood endothelial colony-forming cell-derived cells to form tubules in growth factor reduced Matrigel in the presence or absence of two angiogenic inhibitors, suramin and SU6668, to compare the benefits and limitations of two quantification methods—Angiosys and Wimasis. These comparative analyses revealed that both Angiosys and Wimasis are easy to use, accurately quantify angiogenesis, and will suit the needs of different types of users.
Acid-solubilized collagen type I (COL1) can form highly organized, three-dimensional scaffolds for a wide variety of bioengineering and cell culture applications. A rapid COL1 isolation method would be a valuable tool for both basic and translational researchers because conventional techniques require days or weeks to complete, typically use nonhuman animal tissues as a source material, and do not efficiently purify autologous COL1 from small samples. Here, we describe a 3-h method to isolate COL1 from rabbit, lamb, and human skin in sufficient quantities for fabrication of autologously derived tissues by using a rapid agitation technique and incorporating centrifugal filtration units into a traditional isolation procedure. We demonstrate that the purified product is comparable to traditional preparations using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, transmission electron microscopy, and collagen content assays. In addition, our COL1 is able to support myogenic cell growth and direct orientation of these cells in vitro. Importantly, this ultrarapid COL1 isolation procedure increases the feasibility of autologous COL1 use in humans as well as overall safety for clinical patients.
Trauma injuries often cause peripheral nerve damage and disability. A goal in neural tissue engineering is to develop synthetic nerve conduits for peripheral nerve regeneration having therapeutic efficacy comparable to that of autografts. Nanofibrous conduits with aligned nanofibers have been shown to promote nerve regeneration, but current fabrication methods rely on rolling a fibrous sheet into the shape of a conduit, which results in a graft with inconsistent size and a discontinuous joint or seam. In addition, the long-term effects of nanofibrous nerve conduits, in comparison with autografts, are still unknown. Here we developed a novel one-step electrospinning process and, for the first time, fabricated a seamless bi-layer nanofibrous nerve conduit: the luminal layer having longitudinally aligned nanofibers to promote nerve regeneration, and the outer layer having randomly organized nanofibers for mechanical support. Long-term in vivo studies demonstrated that bi-layer aligned nanofibrous nerve conduits were superior to random nanofibrous conduits and had comparable therapeutic effects to autografts for nerve regeneration. In summary, we showed that the engineered nanostructure had a significant impact on neural tissue regeneration in situ. The results from this study will also lead to the scalable fabrication of engineered nanofibrous nerve conduits with designed nanostructure. This technology platform can be combined with drug delivery and cell therapies for tissue engineering.
Efficient transfer of progenitor cells without affecting their survival is a key factor in any practical cell therapy. Fibrin microbeads (FMB) were developed as hard biodegradable cell carriers. The FMB could efficiently isolate mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from different sources and support the expansion of matrix-dependent cell types in a three-dimensional culture in slow rotation. The cells on FMB could also undergo induced differentiation for their eventual implantation to enhance tissue regeneration. FMB loaded with isolated human MSC (hMSC) were sealed in tubes topped up with medium. Almost full cell survival was recorded when the sealed cells were maintained in room temperature for up to 10 days, followed by a recovery period of 24 hrs at optimal conditions. Assay of cells recovery after such long room temperature storage showed ∼80%–100% survival of the cells on FMB, with only a marginal survival of cells that were kept in suspension without FMB in the same conditions. The hMSC that survived storage at room temperature preserved their profile of mesenchymal cell surface markers, their rate of proliferation, and their differentiation potential. The cell protective effect was not dependent on the presence of serum in the storage medium. It was clearly shown that over-expression of hypoxia induced factor-1α in hMSC with time, which may have protected the sealed cells on FMB at room temperature storage, was not necessarily related to extreme hypoxic stress. Foreskin normal fibroblasts on FMB sealed at room temperature were similarly protected, but with no elevation of their hypoxia-induced factor-1α expression. The results also show that FMB, unlike other commercially available cell carriers, could be used for delivery and shipping of progenitor cells at room temperature for extended time intervals. This could be highly useful for cell transfer for therapeutic application and for simplified cell transfer between different research centers.
The manual seeding of cells onto a biodegradable scaffold by pipetting is an effective method of cell seeding. However, the widespread use and ultimate clinical utility of this technique is limited by operator variability. This study was conducted to evaluate an operator-independent vacuum-seeding method for use in an upcoming clinical trial. Using bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells, we achieved seeding comparable to manually seeded scaffolds in terms of cellular attachment, distribution, and viability in vacuum-seeded grafts at vacuum pressures of −25 to −50 mmHg. In conclusion, we describe an operator-independent seeding method for use in the clinical setting.
Currently available bioreactor systems used by tissue engineers permit either direct, high-magnification observation of cell behavior or application of mechanical loads to growing tissue constructs, but not both simultaneously. Further, in most loading bioreactors, the volume of the dead space is not minimized to reduce the cost associated with perfusion media, exogenous stimulatory/inhibitory agents, proteases, and label. We have designed, developed, and tested a bioreactor that simultaneously satisfies the combined requirements of providing (i) controlled tensile mechanical stimulation, (ii) direct high-magnification imaging capability, and (iii) low dead-space volume. This novel mechanostimulatory (uniaxial tensile loading) bioreactor operates on an inverted microscope and permits continuous optical access (up to 600×) to a loaded, growing construct for extended periods of time (weeks). The reactor employs an adjustable reaction chamber in which the dead space can be reduced to <2 mL. The device has been used to cultivate our human primary corneal fibroblast-derived, tissue-engineered system for up to 14 days. Using the instrument we have successfully recorded (i) the process of fibroblasts populating, growing to confluence, and stratifying on different substrates; (ii) recorded complex and organized cell sheet motions; and (iii) recorded the behavior of a subpopulation of what appear to be degradative/catabolic cells within our fibroblast culture. The device is capable of providing detailed, long-term, dynamic images of mechanically stimulated cell/matrix interaction that have not been observed previously.
Bone marrow-derived multipotent stromal cells (MSCs), also known as mesenchymal stem cells, have great promise due to their capacity for tri-lineage differentiation and immunosuppressive properties, which allows for their allogeneic use and ultimately may allow for treatment of many diseases. MSCs will require extensive expansion and passaging to obtain cells in sufficient numbers necessary for cell therapies. MSCs from many donors could potentially be used. Because of this, there is a need to understand the role of passaging and donor differences on differentiation capacity using quantitative approaches. Here, we evaluated MSCs from two donors (noted as PCBM1632 and PCBM1641 by the manufacturer) at tissue culture passages 3, 5, and 7. We used a colony forming unit (CFU) assay and limiting dilution to quantify clonogenicity and precursor frequency during adipogenesis, and quantitative real-time-polymerase chain reaction for adipogenic markers to evaluate changes on a gene expression level. Further, we observed changes in cell size, and we sorted small and large populations to evaluate size-related adipogenic potential. While the adipogenic precursor frequency of ∼1 in 76 cells remained similar through passages for cells from PCBM1641, we found a large decrease in the adipogenic potential of MSCs from PCBM1632, with 1 in 2035 cells being capable of differentiating into an adipocyte at passage 7. MSCs from both donors showed an increase in cell diameter with increasing passage, which correlates with a decrease in clonogenicity by CFU analysis. We also measured adipose lineage gene expression following induction of adipocyte differentiation. Expression of these genes decreased with passage number for MSCs from PCBM1632 and correlated with the decrease in adipogenic potential by passage 7. In contrast, MSCs from PCBM1641 showed increased expression of these genes with increasing passage. We have shown that several quantitative assays can detect differences in MSC differentiation capacity, clonogenicity, and cell size between donors and passages. These quantitative methods are useful to assess the quality of MSCs.