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Intimal stiffening has been linked with increased vascular permeability and leukocyte transmigration, hallmarks of atherosclerosis. However, recent evidence indicates age-related intimal stiffening is not uniform but rather characterized by increased point-to-point heterogeneity in subendothelial matrix stiffness, the impact of which is much less understood. To investigate the impact of spatially heterogeneous matrix rigidity on endothelial monolayer integrity, we develop a micropillar model to introduce closely-spaced, step-changes in substrate rigidity and compare endothelial monolayer phenotype to rigidity-matched, uniformly stiff and compliant substrates. We found equivalent disruption of adherens junctions within monolayers on step-rigidity and uniformly stiff substrates relative to uniformly compliant substrates. Similarly, monolayers cultured on step-rigidity substrates exhibited equivalent percentages of leukocyte transmigration to monolayers on rigidity-matched, uniformly stiff substrates. Adherens junction tension and focal adhesion density, but not size, increased within monolayers on step-rigidity and uniformly stiff substrates compared to more compliant substrates suggesting that elevated tension is disrupting adherens junction integrity. Leukocyte transmigration frequency and time, focal adhesion size, and focal adhesion density did not differ between stiff and compliant sub-regions of step-rigidity substrates. Overall, our results suggest that endothelial monolayers exposed to mechanically heterogeneous substrates adopt the phenotype associated with the stiffer matrix, indicating that spatial heterogeneities in intimal stiffness observed with age could disrupt endothelial barrier integrity and contribute to atherogenesis.
3D printing enables the creation of scaffolds with precisely controlled morphometric properties for multiple tissue types, including musculoskeletal tissues such as cartilage and bone. Computed tomography (CT) imaging has been combined with 3D printing to fabricate anatomically scaled patient-specific scaffolds for bone regeneration. However, anatomically scaled scaffolds typically lack sufficient resolution to recapitulate the <100 micrometer-scale trabecular architecture essential for investigating the cellular response to the morphometric properties of bone. In this study, it is hypothesized that the architecture of trabecular bone regulates osteoblast differentiation and mineralization. To test this hypothesis, human bone-templated 3D constructs are fabricated via a new micro-CT/3D inkjet printing process. It is shown that this process reproducibly fabricates bone-templated constructs that recapitulate the anatomic site-specific morphometric properties of trabecular bone. A significant correlation is observed between the structure model index (a morphometric parameter related to surface curvature) and the degree of mineralization of human mesenchymal stem cells, with more concave surfaces promoting more extensive osteoblast differentiation and mineralization compared to predominately convex surfaces. These findings highlight the significant effects of trabecular architecture on osteoblast function.
© 2017 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
Impaired wound healing that mimics chronic human skin pathologies is difficult to achieve in current animal models, hindering testing and development of new therapeutic biomaterials that promote wound healing. In this article, we describe a refinement and simplification of the porcine ischemic wound model that increases the size and number of experimental sites per animal. By comparing three flap geometries, we adopted a superior configuration (15 × 10 cm) that enabled testing of twenty 1 cm wounds in each animal: 8 total ischemic wounds within 4 bipedicle flaps and 12 nonischemic wounds. The ischemic wounds exhibited impaired skin perfusion for ∼1 week. To demonstrate the utility of the model for comparative testing of tissue regenerative biomaterials, we evaluated the healing process in wounds implanted with highly porous poly (thioketal) urethane (PTK-UR) scaffolds that were fabricated through reaction of reactive oxygen species (ROS)-cleavable PTK macrodiols with isocyanates. PTK-lysine triisocyanate (LTI) scaffolds degraded significantly in vitro under both oxidative and hydrolytic conditions whereas PTK-hexamethylene diisocyanate trimer (HDIt) scaffolds were resistant to hydrolytic breakdown and degraded exclusively through an ROS-dependent mechanism. Upon placement into porcine wounds, both types of PTK-UR materials fostered new tissue ingrowth over 10 days in both ischemic and nonischemic tissue. However, wound perfusion, tissue infiltration and the abundance of pro-regenerative, M2-polarized macrophages were markedly lower in ischemic wounds independent of scaffold type. The PTK-LTI implants significantly improved tissue infiltration and perfusion compared with analogous PTK-HDIt scaffolds in ischemic wounds. Both LTI and HDIt-based PTK-UR implants enhanced M2 macrophage activity, and these cells were selectively localized at the scaffold/tissue interface. In sum, this modified porcine wound-healing model decreased animal usage, simplified procedures, and permitted a more robust evaluation of tissue engineering materials in preclinical wound healing research. Deployment of the model for a relevant biomaterial comparison yielded results that support the use of the PTK-LTI over the PTK-HDIt scaffold formulation for future advanced therapeutic studies.
Polypropylene (PP) transvaginal mesh (TVM) repair for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) has shown promising short-term objective cure rates. However, life-altering complications have been associated with the placement of PP mesh for SUI repair. PP degradation as a result of the foreign body reaction (FBR) has been proposed as a contributing factor to mesh complications. We hypothesized that PP oxidizes under in vitro conditions simulating the FBR, resulting in degradation of the PP. Three PP mid-urethral slings from two commercial manufacturers were evaluated. Test specimens (n = 6) were incubated in oxidative medium for up to 5 weeks. Oxidation was assessed by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), and degradation was evaluated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). FTIR spectra of the slings revealed evidence of carbonyl and hydroxyl peaks after 5 weeks of incubation time, providing evidence of oxidation of PP. SEM images at 5 weeks showed evidence of surface degradation, including pitting and flaking. Thus, oxidation and degradation of PP pelvic mesh were evidenced by chemical and physical changes under simulated in vivo conditions. To assess changes in PP surface chemistry in vivo, fibers were recovered from PP mesh explanted from a single patient without formalin fixation, untreated (n = 5) or scraped (n = 5) to remove tissue, and analyzed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Mechanical scraping removed adherent tissue, revealing an underlying layer of oxidized PP. These findings underscore the need for further research into the relative contribution of oxidative degradation to complications associated with PP-based TVM devices in larger cohorts of patients.
Bone grafts used to repair weight-bearing tibial plateau fractures often experience cyclic loading, and there is a need for bone graft substitutes that prevent failure of fixation and subsequent morbidity. However, the specific mechanical properties required for resorbable grafts to optimize structural compatibility with native bone have yet to be established. While quasi-static tests are utilized to assess weight-bearing ability, compressive strength alone is a poor indicator of in vivo performance. In the present study, we investigated the effects of interfacial bonding on material properties under conditions that re-capitulate the cyclic loading associated with weight-bearing fractures. Dynamic compressive fatigue properties of polyurethane (PUR) composites made with either unmodified (U-) or polycaprolactone surface-modified (PCL-) 45S5 bioactive glass (BG) particles were compared to a commercially available calcium sulfate and phosphate-based (CaS/P) bone cement at physiologically relevant stresses (5-30 MPa). Fatigue resistance of PCL-BG/polymer composite was superior to that of the U-BG/polymer composite and the CaS/P cement at higher stress levels for each of the fatigue failure criteria, related to modulus, creep, and maximum displacement, and was comparable to human trabecular bone. Steady state creep and damage accumulation occurred during the fatigue life of the PCL-BG/polymer and CaS/P cement, whereas creep of U-BG/polymer primarily occurred at a low number of loading cycles. From crack propagation testing, fracture toughness or resistance to crack growth was significantly higher for the PCL-BG composite than for the other materials. Finally, the fatigue and fracture toughness properties were intermediate between those of trabecular and cortical bone. These findings highlight the potential of PCL-BG/polyurethane composites as weight-bearing bone grafts.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Biomaterial substrates composed of semi-aligned electrospun fibers are attractive supports for the regeneration of connective tissues because the fibers are durable under cyclic tensile loads and can guide cell adhesion, orientation, and gene expression. Previous studies on supported electrospun substrates have shown that both fiber diameter and mechanical deformation can independently influence cell morphology and gene expression. However, no studies have examined the effect of mechanical deformation and fiber diameter on unsupported meshes. Semi-aligned large (1.75 μm) and small (0.60 μm) diameter fiber meshes were prepared from degradable elastomeric poly(esterurethane urea) (PEUUR) meshes and characterized by tensile testing and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Next, unsupported meshes were aligned between custom grips (with the stretch axis oriented parallel to axis of fiber alignment), seeded with C3H10T1/2 cells, and subjected to a static load (50 mN, adjusted daily), a cyclic load (4% strain at 0.25 Hz for 30 min, followed by a static tensile loading of 50 mN, daily), or no load. After 3 days of mechanical stimulation, confocal imaging was used to characterize cell shape, while measurements of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) content and messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) expression were used to characterize cell retention on unsupported meshes and expression of the connective tissue phenotype. Mechanical testing confirmed that these materials deform elastically to at least 10%. Cells adhered to unsupported meshes under all conditions and aligned with the direction of fiber orientation. Application of static and cyclic loads increased cell alignment. Cell density and mRNA expression of connective tissue proteins were not statistically different between experimental groups. However, on large diameter fiber meshes, static loading slightly elevated tenomodulin expression relative to the no load group, and tenascin-C and tenomodulin expression relative to the cyclic load group. These results demonstrate the feasibility of maintaining cell adhesion and alignment on semi-aligned fibrous elastomeric substrates under different mechanical conditions. The study confirms that cell morphology is sensitive to the mechanical environment and suggests that expression of select connective tissue genes may be enhanced on large diameter fiber meshes under static tensile loads.
Clinical translation of siRNA therapeutics has been limited by the inability to effectively overcome the rigorous delivery barriers associated with intracellular-acting biologics. Here, to address both potency and longevity of siRNA gene silencing, pH-responsive micellar nanoparticle (NP) carriers loaded with siRNA conjugated to palmitic acid (siRNA-PA) were investigated as a combined approach to improve siRNA endosomal escape and stability. Conjugation to hydrophobic PA improved NP loading efficiency relative to unmodified siRNA, enabling complete packaging of siRNA-PA at a lower polymer:siRNA ratio. PA conjugation also increased intracellular uptake of the nucleic acid cargo by 35-fold and produced a 3.1-fold increase in intracellular half-life. The higher uptake and improved retention of siRNA-PA NPs correlated to a 2- and 11-fold decrease in gene silencing IC50 in comparison to siRNA NPs in fibroblasts and mesenchymal stem cells, respectively, for both the model gene luciferase and the therapeutically relevant gene prolyl hydroxylase domain protein 2 (PHD2) . PA conjugation also significantly increased longevity of silencing activity following a single treatment in fibroblasts. Thus, conjugation of PA to siRNA paired with endosomolytic NPs is a promising approach to enhance the functional efficacy of siRNA in tissue regenerative and other applications.
Copyright © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Reference point indentation (RPI) is a microindentation technique involving 20 cycles of loading in "force-control" that can directly assess a patient׳s bone tissue properties. Even though preliminary clinical studies indicate a capability for fracture discrimination, little is known about what mechanical behavior the various RPI properties characterize and how these properties relate to traditional mechanical properties of bone. To address this, the present study investigated the sensitivity of RPI properties to anatomical location and tissue organization as well as examined to what extent RPI measurements explain the intrinsic mechanical properties of human cortical bone. Multiple indents with a target force of 10N were done in 2 orthogonal directions (longitudinal and transverse) per quadrant (anterior, medial, posterior, and lateral) of the femoral mid-shaft acquired from 26 donors (25-101 years old). Additional RPI measurements were acquired for 3 orthogonal directions (medial only). Independent of age, most RPI properties did not vary among these locations, but they did exhibit transverse isotropy such that resistance to indentation is greater in the longitudinal (axial) direction than in the transverse direction (radial or circumferential). Next, beam specimens (~2mm×5mm×40mm) were extracted from the medial cortex of femoral mid-shafts, acquired from 34 donors (21-99 years old). After monotonically loading the specimens in three-point bending to failure, RPI properties were acquired from an adjacent region outside the span. Indent direction was orthogonal to the bending axis. A significant inverse relationship was found between resistance to indentation and the apparent-level mechanical properties. Indentation distance increase (IDI) and a linear combination of IDI and the loading slope, averaged over cycles 3 through 20, provided the best explanation of the variance in ultimate stress (r(2)=0.25, p=0.003) and toughness (r(2)=0.35, p=0.004), respectively. With a transverse isotropic behavior akin to tissue hardness and modulus as determined by micro- and nano-indentation and a significant association with toughness, RPI properties are likely influenced by both elastic and plastic behavior of bone tissue.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.