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1.  Preclinical Evaluation of a Novel Implant for Treatment of a Full-Thickness Distal Femoral Focal Cartilage Defect 
The Journal of arthroplasty  2013;28(8):10.1016/j.arth.2012.11.020.
A novel, nonresorbable, monolithic composite structure ceramic, developed using a partially stabilized zirconia ceramic common to implantable devices, was used in a cementless weight-bearing articular implant to test the feasibility of replacing a region of degenerated or damaged articular cartilage in the knee as part of a preclinical study using male mongrel dogs lasting up to 24 weeks. Gross/histological cartilage observations showed no differences among control, 12-week and 24-week groups, while pull-out tests showed an increase in maximum pull-out load over time relative to controls. Hence, the use of a novel ceramic implant as a replacement for a focal cartilage defect leads to effective implant fixation within 12 weeks and does not cause significant degradation in opposing articular cartilage in the time frame evaluated.
doi:10.1016/j.arth.2012.11.020
PMCID: PMC3844131  PMID: 23523501
unicondylar hemiarthroplasty; ceramic device; preclinical study; cartilage wear; animal model
4.  Biomedical Tissue Phantoms with Controlled Geometric and Optical Properties for Raman Spectroscopy and Tomography 
The Analyst  2011;136(21):4437-4446.
To support the translation of Raman spectroscopy into clinical applications, synthetic models are needed to accurately test, optimize and validate prototype fiber optic instrumentation. Synthetic models (also called tissue phantoms) are widely used for developing and testing optical instrumentation for diffuse reflectance, fluorescence, and Raman spectroscopies. While existing tissue phantoms accurately model tissue optical scattering and absorption, they do not typically model the anatomic shapes and chemical composition of tissue. Because Raman spectroscopy is sensitive to molecular composition, Raman tissue phantoms should also approximate the bulk tissue composition. We describe the fabrication and characterization of tissue phantoms for Raman tomography and spectroscopy. These phantoms have controlled chemical and optical properties, and also multilayer morphologies which approximate the appropriate anatomic shapes. Tissue phantoms were fabricated to support on-going Raman studies by simulating human wrist and rat leg. Surface meshes (triangle patch models) were generated from computed tomography (CT) images of a human arm and rat leg. Rapid prototyping was used to print mold templates with complex geometric patterns. Plastic casting techniques used for movie special effects were adapted to fabricate molds from the rapid prototypes, and finally to cast multilayer gelatin tissue phantoms. The gelatin base was enriched with additives to model the approximate chemistry and optical properties of individual tissue layers. Additional studies were performed to determine optimal casting conditions, phantom stability, layer delamination and chemical diffusion between layers. Recovery of diffuse reflectance and Raman spectra in tissue phantoms varied with probe placement. These phantoms enable optimization of probe placement for human or rat studies. These multilayer tissue phantoms with complex geometries are shown to be stable, with minimal layer delamination and chemical diffusion.
doi:10.1039/c1an15429j
PMCID: PMC3289090  PMID: 21912794
5.  Fiber-optic Raman Spectroscopy of Joint Tissues 
The Analyst  2011;136(8):1675-1685.
In this study, we report adaptation of Raman spectroscopy for arthroscopy of joint tissues using a custom-built fiber optic probe. Differentiation of healthy and damaged tissue or examination of subsurface tissue, such as subchondral bone, is a challenge in arthroscopy because visual inspection may not provide sufficient contrast. Discrimination of healthy versus damaged tissue may be improved by incorporating point spectroscopy or hyperspectral imaging into arthroscopy where contrast is based on molecular structure or chemical composition. Articular joint surfaces of knee cadaveric human tissue and tissue phantoms were examined using a custom-designed Raman fiber optic probe. Fiber-optic Raman spectra were compared against reference spectra of cartilage, subchondral bone and cancellous bone collected using Raman microspectroscopy. In fiber-optic Raman spectra of the articular surface, there was an effect of cartilage thickness on recovery of signal from subchondral bone. At sites with intact cartilage, the bone mineralization ratio decreased but there was a minimal effect in the bone mineral chemistry ratios. Tissue phantoms were prepared as experimental models of the osteochondral interface. Raman spectra of tissue phantoms suggested that optical scattering of cartilage has a large effect on the relative cartilage and bone signal. Finite element analysis modeling of light fluence in the osteochondral interface confirmed experimental findings in human cadaveric tissue and tissue phantoms. These first studies demonstrate proof of principle for Raman arthroscopic measurement of joint tissues and provide a basis for future clinical or animal model studies.
doi:10.1039/c0an00824a
PMCID: PMC3108821  PMID: 21359366
6.  Leptin Receptor JAK2/STAT3 Signaling Modulates Expression of Frizzled Receptors in Articular Chondrocytes 
Objective
Differentiated articular chondrocytes express a functional isoform of the leptin receptor (LRb); however, leptin-LRb signaling in these cells is poorly understood. We hypothesized that leptin-LRb signaling in articular chondrocytes functions to modulate canonical Wnt signaling events by altering the expression of Frizzled receptors.
Methods
Human chondrocyte cell lines and primary articular chondrocytes were grown in serum containing growth media for 24 hrs, followed by a media change to DMEM containing 1% Nutridoma-SP to obtain a serum-deficient environment for 24 hours before treatment. Treatments included recombinant human leptin (10–100 nM), recombinant human IL-6 (0.3-3 nM), or recombinant human erythropoietin (10 mU/ml). Cells were harvested 30 min to 48 hrs after treatment and whole cell lysates were analyzed using immunoblots or luciferase assays.
Results
Treatment of cells with leptin resulted in activation of JAK2 and subsequent phosphorylation of specific tyrosine residues on LRb, followed by dose- and time-dependent increases in the expression of Frizzled-1 (Fzd1) and Frizzled-7 (Fzd7). Leptin-mediated increases in the expression of Fzd1 and Fzd7 were blocked by pre-treatment with the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide or the JAK2 inhibitor AG490. Experiments using a series of hybrid erythropoietin extracellular domain-leptin intracellular domain receptors (ELR) harboring mutations of specific tyrosine residues in the cytoplasmic tail showed that increases in the expression of Fzd1 and Fzd7 were dependent on LRb-mediated phosphorylation of STAT3, but not ERK1/2 or STAT5. Leptin pre-treatment of chondrocytes prior to Wnt-3a stimulation resulted in an increased magnitude of canonical Wnt signaling.
Conclusion
These experiments show that leptin-LRb signaling in articular chondrocytes modulates expression of canonical Wnt signaling receptors and suggests that direct cross-talk between these pathways is important in determining chondrocyte homeostasis.
doi:10.1016/j.joca.2010.09.006
PMCID: PMC2997121  PMID: 20868760
adipokines; cell signaling; cytokines; leptin; Frizzled; STAT5
7.  Effect of Conformation and Drop Properties on Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy of Dried Biopolymer Drops 
Applied spectroscopy  2008;62(5):503-511.
Biofluids are complex solutions consisting of small ions and large biopolymers such as DNA, proteins or proteoglycans. Biopolymers affect fluid properties but their effect on drop deposition has not been examined. Hyaluronic acid (HA), an important component in synovial fluid, was chosen as a model biopolymer, and examined using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). Nanoliter volumes of HA solutions were dried onto a patterned SERS substrate and spectra were collected from the dried hyaluronic acid drops with a near-infrared Raman microscope. Characteristic hyaluronic acid bands were examined. Capillary viscometry measured properties of HA solutions and entanglement behavior was also modeled using scaling theory principles. Viscosity measurements were incorporated into models of suspended particle droplets to account for the effect of inter-chain attraction on droplet formation. Microscope images were used to evaluate shape of the dried drop. Relative drop thickness was estimated from concentric rings found at drop edges using established models of light interference by thin films. We found SERS spectra were sensitive not only to polymer conformation, but also to type of deposition (ring versus uniform), and the thickness of the resulting deposition. These data suggest an approach to elucidate the effects of biopolymers and dehydrated biofluids on SERS analysis.
doi:10.1366/000370208784344370
PMCID: PMC3077080  PMID: 18498691
Surface-enhanced Raman; spectroscopy; Hyaluronic acid; Glycosaminoglycan; Polymer conformation; Drop deposition
8.  Raman Spectroscopy of Synovial Fluid as a Tool for Diagnosing Osteoarthritis 
Journal of biomedical optics  2009;14(3):034013.
For many years, viscosity has been the primary method used by researchers in rheumatology to assess the physiochemical properties of synovial fluid in both normal and osteoarthritic patients. However, progress has been limited by the lack of methods that provide multiple layers of information, use small sample volumes, and are rapid. In this blinded study, Raman spectroscopy was used to assess the biochemical composition of synovial fluid collected from forty patients with clinical evidence of knee osteoarthritis at the time of elective surgical treatment. Severity of knee osteoarthritis was assessed by a radiologist using Kellgren/Lawrence (K/L) scores from knee joint x-rays, while light microscopy and Raman spectroscopy were used to examine synovial fluid aspirates (2–10 µL), deposited on fused silica slides. We show that Raman bands used to describe protein secondary structure and content can be used to detect changes in synovial fluid from osteoarthritic patients. Several Raman band intensity ratios increased significantly in spectra collected from synovial fluid in patients with radiological evidence of osteoarthritis damage. These ratios can be used to provide a “yes/no” damage assessment. Additionally, two ratios increased with K/L score and showed moderate correlative trends. These studies provide evidence that Raman spectroscopy would be a suitable candidate in the evaluation of joint damage in knee osteoarthritis patients.
doi:10.1117/1.3130338
PMCID: PMC2705867  PMID: 19566306
Raman Spectroscopy; Osteoarthritis; Synovial Fluid; Diagnostic
9.  Phase Ib trial assessing autologous, tumor-pulsed dendritic cells as a vaccine administered with or without IL-2 in patients with metastatic melanoma 
Twenty four subjects with metastatic melanoma were treated on a randomized Phase Ib trial evaluating an autologous tumor lysate-pulsed dendritic cell (DC) vaccine with or without IL-2. The vaccine consisted of autologous DCs obtained from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) cultured in GM-CSF and IL-4 then pulsed with autologous tumor cell lysate and KLH. The primary endpoints of the trial were safety and immune response to vaccine. Subjects were randomized to vaccine administered every other week times 3, vaccine x 3 followed by low dose IL-2, or vaccine x 3 followed by high dose IL-2. Immune response was monitored pretreatment and at 2 and 4 weeks after the third vaccine administration. Disease evaluation was performed at 4 weeks after the third vaccination. Therapy was well tolerated with no local vaccine toxicity greater than Grade 1 in any arm. IL-2 toxicity was as expected without additional toxicity from the addition of IL-2 to vaccine. Immune response defined as DTH, PBMC interferon gamma ELISPOT, and PBMC proliferation, to both autologous tumor and KLH were detected in all arms. Interferon gamma ELISPOT response to KLH (7 of 10 patients) and autologous tumor (4 of 10 patients) were also detected in subjects with available vaccine draining lymph node cells. There were no differences in immune response between treatment arms. No clinical responses were seen. Autologous tumor lysate-pulsed DC vaccine with or without IL-2 was well tolerated and immunogenic but failed to induce clinical response in patients with advanced melanoma.
doi:10.1097/CJI.0b013e31817fd90b
PMCID: PMC2642589  PMID: 18528294
dendritic cell; vaccine; melanoma; immunity
10.  Bile Acid-Oligopeptide Conjugates Interact with DNA and Facilitate Transfection 
Molecular pharmaceutics  2007;4(1):95-103.
Bile acids conjugated to oligoarginine-containing peptides (BACs) form complexes with DNA based on the electrostatic interactions between negatively charged phosphate groups of the nucleic acid and the positively charged side chain guanidinium groups of the oligoarginine in the BACs. Charge neutralization of both components and subsequent increases of the net positive charge of the complex combined with the water-soluble lipophilic nature of the bile acid results in changes in the physicochemistry and biological properties of the complexes. We have examined the relationship of a series of 13 BACs on their interaction with circular plasmid DNA (pDNA). The formation of soluble, low-density and insoluble, high-density complexes was analyzed using several methods. The formation of high-density complexes was dependent on the DNA concentration, and was enhanced by increasing the BAC to pDNA charge ratio. Several of the BAC:pDNA complexes demonstrated exclusion of the DNA-intercalator Hoechst 33258 from pDNA, and were also protected from DNase activity. Several BAC conjugates interacted with pDNA to form nanometer-sized particles suitable for cell transfection in vitro. Five of the 13 BACs were transfection competent as single agents, and 11 of the 13 BACs showed enhancement of transfection in combination with DOPE containing liposomes or silica nanoparticles.
doi:10.1021/mp060025q
PMCID: PMC2642985  PMID: 17274667
Bile acid; cholesterol; gene therapy; polyarginine; plasmid; nanoparticles; silica articles
11.  Antitumor efficacy of tumor-antigen-encoding recombinant poxvirus immunization in Dunning rat prostate cancer: implications for clinical genetic vaccine development 
World journal of urology  2000;18(2):136-142.
One potential use for prostate-cancer-associated genes discovered through ongoing genetics studies entails the construction of virus- or plasmid-based recombinant vector vaccines encoding these new tumor-associated antigens (TAA) to induce TAA-specific immune responses for the prevention or therapy of prostate cancer. Clinical trials evaluating prototypes of such recombinant vaccines are under way. TAA-encoding recombinant vector vaccines, however, have not previously been evaluated in a prostate-cancer animal model. For assessment of the potential susceptibility of prostate cancer to genetic immunization strategies using TAA-encoding recombinant vectors, the antitumor efficacy of a model recombinant viral vector encoding a TAA was evaluated in rat Dunning prostate cancer. Recombinant vaccinia was chosen as a prototype virus vector encoding a TAA for these studies, and β-galactosidase was chosen as a model target TAA. Dunning AT-2 cells were transduced with a retroviral vector to express β-galactosidase, and the susceptibility of tumorigenic AT-2-lacZ cells to immunization with vaccinia-lacZ was measured using protection studies in Copenhagen and nu/nu rats. Stably transduced AT-2-lacZ cells expressing β-galactosidase as measured by enzymatic substrate-based assays were found to retain their tumorigenicity in vivo despite abundant expression of rat major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I. Immunization with model TAA-encoding recombinant vaccinia-lacZ conferred significant protection against subsequent growth of AT-2-lacZ cells in vivo (P = 0.01); however, the efficacy of such immunization was markedly dependent on the volume of tumor challenge. The antitumor efficacy of TAA-encoding recombinant vaccinia immunization was abrogated in nu/nu rats, suggesting a T-cell-dependent mechanism of activity. These studies suggest that prostate cancer may be a suitable target for immunization strategies using TAA-encoding recombinant vectors. Such immunization strategies may be more effective in settings of minimal cancer burden.
PMCID: PMC2042537  PMID: 10854149
12.  Highly efficient genetic transduction of primary human synoviocytes with concentrated retroviral supernatant 
Arthritis Research  2002;4(3):215-219.
We are developing retroviral-mediated gene transfer to human fibroblast-like synovial cells (FLS) as one approach to characterizing genetic pathways involved in synoviocyte pathophysiology. Prior work has suggested that FLS are relatively refractory to infection by Moloney murine leukemia virus based vectors. To determine if viral titer influenced the transduction efficiency of FLS, we optimized a rapid, efficient, and inexpensive centrifugation method to concentrate recombinant retroviral supernatant. The technique was evaluated by measurement of the expression of a viral enhanced green fluorescent protein transgene in transduced cells, and by analysis of viral RNA in retroviral supernatant. Concentration (100-fold) was achieved by centrifugation of viral supernatant for four hours, with 100% recovery of viral particles. The transduction of FLS increased from approximately 15% with unconcentrated supernatant, to nearly 50% using concentrated supernatant. This protocol will be useful for investigators with applications that require efficient, stable, high level transgene expression in primary FLS.
PMCID: PMC111025  PMID: 12010573
enhanced green fluorescent protein; fibroblast-like synovial cell; gene therapy; retrovirus; titer

Results 1-12 (12)