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1.  Incorporation of phosphate group modulates bone cell attachment and differentiation on oligo(polyethylene glycol) fumarate hydrogel 
Acta biomaterialia  2012;8(4):1430-1439.
In this work, we have investigated the development of a synthetic hydrogel that contains a negatively charged phosphate group for use as a substrate for bone cell attachment and differentiation in culture. The photoreactive, phosphate-containing molecule, bis(2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl)phosphate (BP), was incorporated into oligo(polyethylene glycol) fumarate hydrogel and the mechanical, rheological and thermal properties of the resulting hydrogels were characterized. Our results showed changes in hydrogel compression and storage moduli with incorporation of BP. The modification also resulted in decreased crystallinity as recorded by differential scanning calorimetry. Our data revealed that incorporation of BP improved attachment and differentiation of human fetal osteoblast (hFOB) cells in a dose-dependent manner. A change in surface chemistry and mineralization of the phosphate-containing surfaces verified by scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray analysis was found to be important for hFOB cell attachment and differentiation. We also demonstrated that phosphate-containing hydrogels support attachment and differentiation of primary bone marrow stromal cells. These findings suggest that BP-modified hydrogels are capable of sustaining attachment and differentiation of both bone marrow stromal cells and osteoblasts that are critical for bone regeneration.
PMCID: PMC3970912  PMID: 22277774
Hydrogel; Bone regeneration; Osteoblast; Rabbit marrow stromal cells
2.  Controlled release of doxorubicin from pH-responsive microgels 
Acta biomaterialia  2012;9(3):5438-5446.
Stimuli-responsive hydrogels have enormous potential in drug delivery applications. They can be used for site-specific drug delivery due to environmental variables in the body such as pH and temperature. In this study, we have developed pH-responsive microgels for the delivery of doxorubicin (DOX) in order to optimize its anti-tumor activity while minimizing its systemic toxicity. We used a copolymer of oligo(polyethylene glycol) fumarate (OPF) and sodium methacrylate (SMA) to fabricate the pH-responsive microgels. We demonstrated that the microgels were negatively charged, and the amounts of charge on the microgels were correlated with the SMA concentration in their formulation. The resulting microgels exhibited sensitivity to the pH and ionic strength of the surrounding environment. We demonstrated that DOX was efficiently loaded into the microgels and released in a controlled fashion via an ion-exchange mechanism. Our data revealed that the DOX release was influenced by the pH and ionic strength of the solution. Moreover, we designed a phenomenological mathematical model, based on a stretched exponential function, to quantitatively analyze the cumulative release of DOX. We found a linear correlation between the maximum release of DOX calculated from the model and the SMA concentration in the microgel formulation. The anti-tumor activity of the released DOX was assessed using a human chordoma cell line. Our data revealed that OPF–SMA microgels prolonged the cell killing effect of DOX.
PMCID: PMC3970914  PMID: 23022545
pH-responsive; Doxorubicin; Microgels; Chordoma; Oligo(polyethylene glycol) fumarate
3.  Histone deacetylase 3 is required for maintenance of bone mass during aging 
Bone  2012;52(1):296-307.
Histone deacetylase 3 (Hdac3) is a nuclear enzyme that removes acetyl groups from lysine residues in histones and other proteins to epigenetically regulate gene expression. Hdac3 interacts with bone-related transcription factors and co-factors such as Runx2 and Zfp521, and thus is poised to play a key role in the skeletal system. To understand the role of Hdac3 in osteoblasts and osteocytes, Hdac3 conditional knockout (CKO) mice were created with the Osteocalcin (OCN) promoter driving Cre expression. Hdac3 CKOOCN mice were of normal size and weight, but progressively lost trabecular and cortical bone mass with age. The Hdac3 CKOOCN mice exhibited reduced cortical bone mineralization and material properties and suffered frequent fractures. Bone resorption was lower, not higher, in the Hdac3 CKOOCN mice, suggesting that primary defects in osteoblasts caused the reduced bone mass. Indeed, reductions in bone formation were observed. Osteoblasts and osteocytes from Hdac3 CKOOCN mice showed increased DNA damage and reduced functional activity in vivo and in vitro. Thus, Hdac3 expression in osteoblasts and osteocytes is essential for bone maintenance during aging.
PMCID: PMC3513670  PMID: 23085085
Histone deacetylase; Osteocalcin-Cre; Osteoblast; Osteocyte; DNA damage
4.  In Vivo Transplantation of Autogenous Marrow-Derived Cells Following Rapid Intraoperative Magnetic Separation Based on Hyaluronan to Augment Bone Regeneration 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2012;19(1-2):125-134.
This project was designed to test the hypothesis that rapid intraoperative processing of bone marrow based on hyaluronan (HA) could be used to improve the outcome of local bone regeneration if the concentration and prevalence of marrow-derived connective tissue progenitors (CTPs) could be increased and nonprogenitors depleted before implantation.
HA was used as a marker for positive selection of marrow-derived CTPs using magnetic separation (MS) to obtain a population of HA-positive cells with an increased CTP prevalence. Mineralized cancellous allograft (MCA) was used as an osteoconductive carrier scaffold for loading of HA-positive cells. The canine femoral multidefect model was used and four cylindrical defects measuring 10 mm in diameter and 15 mm in length were grafted with MCA combined with unprocessed marrow or with MS processed marrow that was enriched in HA+ CTPs and depleted in red blood cells and nonprogenitors. Outcome was assessed at 4 weeks using quantitative 3D microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) analysis of bone formation and histomorphological assessment.
Histomorphological assessment showed a significant increase in new bone formation and in the vascular sinus area in the MS-processed defects. Robust bone formation was found throughout the defect area in both groups (defects grafted with unprocessed marrow or with MS processed marrow.) Percent bone volume in the defects, as assessed by micro-CT, was greater in defects engrafted with MS processed cells, but the difference was not statistically significant.
Rapid intraoperative MS processing to enrich CTPs based on HA as a surface marker can be used to increase the concentration and prevalence of CTPs. MCA grafts supplemented with heparinized bone marrow or MS processed cells resulted in a robust and advanced stage of bone regeneration at 4 weeks. A greater new bone formation and vascular sinus area was found in defects grafted with MS processed cells. These data suggest that MS processing may be used to enhance the performance of marrow-derived CTPs in clinical bone regeneration procedures. Further assessment in a more stringent bone defect model is proposed.
PMCID: PMC3593694  PMID: 23082937
5.  A systematic review of animal models used to study nerve regeneration in tissue-engineered scaffolds 
Biomaterials  2012;33(32):8034-8039.
Research on biomaterial nerve scaffolds has been carried out for 50 years. Only three materials (collagen, polycaprolactone and polyglycollic acid) have progressed to clinical use. Pre-clinical animal models are critical for testing nerve scaffolds prior to implementation in clinical practice. We have conducted a systematic review of 416 reports in which animal models were used for evaluation of nerve regeneration into synthetic conduits. A valid animal model of nerve regeneration requires it to reproduce the specific processes that take place in regeneration after human peripheral nerve injury. No distinct animal species meets all the requirements for an ideal animal model. Certain models are well suited for understanding regenerative neurobiology while others are better for pre-clinical evaluation of efficacy. The review identified that more than 70 synthetic materials were tested in eight species using 17 different nerves. Nerve gaps ranged from 1 to 90 mm. More than 20 types of assessment methodology were used with no standardization of methods between any of the publications. The review emphasizes the urgent need for standardization or rationalization of animal models and evaluation methods for studying nerve repair.
PMCID: PMC3472515  PMID: 22889485
Peripheral nerve injury; peripheral nerve repair; nerve tube; nerve scaffold; biodegradable
6.  Regulation of interferon pathway in 2-methoxyestradiol-treated osteosarcoma cells 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:93.
Osteosarcoma is a bone tumor that often affects children and young adults. Although a combination of surgery and chemotherapy has improved the survival rate in the past decades, local recurrence and metastases still develop in 40% of patients. A definite therapy is yet to be determined for osteosarcoma. Anti- tumor compound and a metabolite of estrogen, 2-methoxyestradiol (2-ME) induces cell death in osteosarcoma cells. In this report, we have investigated whether interferon (IFN) pathway is involved in 2-ME-induced anti-tumor effects in osteosarcoma cells.
2-ME effects on IFN mRNA levels were determined by Real time PCR analysis. Transient transfections followed by reporter assays were used for investigating 2-ME effects on IFN-pathway. Western blot analyses were used to measure protein and phosphorylation levels of IFN-regulated eukaryotic initiation factor-2 alpha (eIF-2α).
2-ME regulates IFN and IFN-mediated effects in osteosarcoma cells. 2 -ME induces IFN gene activity and expression in osteosarcoma cells. 2-ME treatment induced IFN-stimulated response element (ISRE) sequence-dependent transcription and gamma-activated sequence (GAS)-dependent transcription in several osteosarcoma cells. Whereas, 2-ME did not affect IFN gene and IFN pathways in normal primary human osteoblasts (HOB). 2-ME treatment increased the phosphorylation of eIF-2α in osteosarcoma cells. Furthermore, analysis of osteosarcoma tissues shows that the levels of phosphorylated form of eIF-2α are decreased in tumor compared to normal controls.
2-ME treatment triggers the induction and activity of IFN and IFN pathway genes in 2-ME-sensitive osteosarcoma tumor cells but not in 2-ME-resistant normal osteoblasts. In addition, IFN-signaling is inhibited in osteosarcoma patients. Thus, IFN pathways play a role in osteosarcoma and in 2-ME-mediated anti-proliferative effects, and therefore targeted induction of IFN signaling could lead to effective treatment strategies in the control of osteosarcoma.
PMCID: PMC3414746  PMID: 22429849
2-Methoxyestradiol; osteosarcoma; Interferon; ISRE; GAS

Results 1-6 (6)