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Inflammation and angiogenesis are inevitable in vivo responses to biomaterial implants. Continuous progress has been made in biomaterial design to improve tissue interactions with an implant by either reducing inflammation or promoting angiogenesis. However, it has become increasingly clear that the physiological processes of inflammation and angiogenesis are interconnected through various molecular mechanisms. Hence, there is an unmet need for engineering functional tissues by simultaneous activation of pro-angiogenic and anti-inflammatory responses to biomaterial implants. In this work, the modulus and fibrinogen adsorption of porous scaffolds were tuned to meet the requirements (i.e., ~100 kPa and ~10 nm, respectively), for soft tissue regeneration by employing tyrosine-derived combinatorial polymers with polyethylene glycol crosslinkers. Two types of functional peptides (i.e., pro-angiogenic laminin-derived C16 and anti-inflammatory thymosin β4-derived Ac-SDKP) were loaded in porous scaffolds through collagen gel embedding so that peptides were released in a controlled fashion, mimicking degradation of the extracellular matrix. The results from (1) in vitro coculture of human umbilical vein endothelial cells and human blood-derived macrophages and (2) in vivo subcutaneous implantation revealed the directly proportional relationship between angiogenic activities (i.e., tubulogenesis and perfusion capacity) and inflammatory activities (i.e., phagocytosis and F4/80 expression) upon treatment with either type of peptide. Interestingly, cotreatment with both types of peptides upregulated the angiogenic responses, while downregulating the inflammatory responses. Also, anti-inflammatory Ac-SDKP peptides reduced production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (i.e., interleukin [IL]-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor alpha) even when treated in combination with pro-angiogenic C16 peptides. In addition to independent regulation of angiogenesis and inflammation, this study suggests a promising approach to improve soft tissue regeneration (e.g., blood vessel and heart muscle) when inflammatory diseases (e.g., ischemic tissue fibrosis and atherosclerosis) limit the regeneration process.
Pathological angiogenesis contributes to various ocular, malignant, and inflammatory disorders, emphasizing the need to understand this process on a molecular level. CIB1 (calcium- and integrin-binding protein), a 22-kDa EF-hand-containing protein, modulates the activity of p21-activated kinase 1 in fibroblasts. Because p21-activated kinase 1 also contributes to endothelial cell function, we hypothesized that CIB1 may have a role in angiogenesis. We found that endothelial cells depleted of CIB1 by either short hairpin RNA or homologous recombination have reduced migration, proliferation, and tubule formation. Moreover, loss of CIB1 in these cells decreases p21-activated kinase 1 activation, downstream extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 activation, and matrix metalloproteinase 2 expression, all of which are known to contribute to angiogenesis. Consistent with these findings, tissues derived from CIB1-deficient (CIB1-/-) mice have reduced growth factor-induced microvessel sprouting in ex vivo organ cultures and in vivo Matrigel plugs. Furthermore, in response to ischemia, CIB1-/- mice demonstrate decreased pathological retinal and adaptive hindlimb angiogenesis. Ischemic CIB1-/- hindlimbs also demonstrate increased tissue damage and significantly reduced p21-activated kinase 1 activation. These data therefore reveal a critical role for CIB1 in ischemia-induced pathological and adaptive angiogenesis.
To study the effects of podocyte injury on glomerular maturation and underlying mechanisms of such effects, puromycin aminonucleoside (PAN) was given to neonatal mice at 1 d post partum (1 dpp). Mice with PAN injection had smaller kidney weight (KW) and body weight (BW) at all times and smaller KW/BW at 4, 8, and 12 dpp versus normal saline (NS) controls. Electron microscopy (EM) revealed nearly complete podocyte foot process effacement and segmental microvillous transformation as early as 2 dpp, preceding proteinuria. PAN-injected kidneys showed significantly fewer glomerular capillary loops and decreased glomerular maturation index, as well as less CD31+ endothelium in cortical glomeruli at 12 dpp versus NS controls. Glomerular mesangial injury and glomerulosclerosis along with proteinuria were noted in PAN-injected kidneys starting from 30 dpp. Systolic blood pressure was increased significantly by 60 dpp in PAN mice. PAN mice also had significantly decreased Flk-1 and Tie2 mRNA expression and increased angiopoitein-1 (Ang-1) expression, without change in vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) at 2 dpp versus NS. Our study shows that podocyte injury in neonatal mice kidneys alters the expression of key capillary growth modulators in glomeruli, leading to abnormal development of glomerular capillaries, with subsequent development of proteinuria, hypertension, and glomerulosclerosis.
Cardiac ankyrin repeat protein (CARP) was identified by subtractive hybridization as one of a group of genes that are rapidly modulated by acute wounding of mouse skin. Quantitative RT-PCR showed that CARP was strongly induced during the first day after wounding (157.1-fold), and the high level persisted for up to 14 days. Immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization revealed that CARP was expressed in skeletal muscle, vessel wall, hair follicle, inflammatory cells, and epidermis in the wound area. To examine the effects of CARP on wound healing, we developed an adenoviral CARP vector to treat subcutaneously implanted sponges in either rats or Flk-1(LacZ) knock-in mice. Four days after infection, CARP-infected sponges in rats showed a remarkable increase in the vascular component in granulation tissue as compared to Ad-LacZ controls. This result was confirmed by CD34 immunostaining. By 7 days post-infection of sponge implants in Flk-1(LacZ) knock-in mice, granulation tissue showed many more LacZ-positive cells in Ad-CARP-infected sponges than in virus controls. Ad-CARP treatment also induced neovascularization and increased blood perfusion in rabbit excisional wounds in and ischemic rat wounds. These findings indicate that CARP could play a unique role in therapeutic angiogenesis during wound healing.