Immobilization of Cell-Adhesive Laminin Peptides in Degradable PEGDA Hydrogels Influences Endothelial Cell Tubulogenesis.
ABSTRACT: Attachment, spreading, and organization of endothelial cells into tubule networks are mediated by interactions between cells in the extracellular microenvironment. Laminins are key extracellular matrix components and regulators of cell adhesion, migration, and proliferation. In this study, laminin-derived peptides were conjugated to poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) monoacrylate and covalently incorporated into degradable PEG diacrylate (PEGDA) hydrogels to investigate the influence of these peptides on endothelial cellular adhesion and function in organizing into tubule networks. Degradable PEGDA hydrogels were synthesized by incorporating a matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-sensitive peptide, GGGPQGIWGQGK (abbreviated PQ), into the polymer backbone. The secretion of MMP-2 and MMP-9 by endothelial cells promotes polymer degradation and consequently cell migration. We demonstrate the formation of extensive networks of tubule-like structures by encapsulated human umbilical vein endothelial cells in hydrogels with immobilized synthetic peptides. The resulting structures were stabilized by pericyte precursor cells (10T1/2s) in vitro. During tubule formation and stabilization, extracellular matrix proteins such as collagen IV and laminin were deposited. Tubules formed in the matrix of metalloproteinase sensitive hydrogels were visualized from 7 days to 4 weeks in response to different combination of peptides. Moreover, hydrogels functionalized with laminin peptides and transplanted in a mouse cornea supported the ingrowth and attachment of endothelial cells to the hydrogel during angiogenesis. Results of this study illustrate the use of laminin-derived peptides as potential candidates for modification of biomaterials to support angiogenesis.
Project description:The effects of mechanical cues on cell behaviors in 3D remain difficult to characterize as the ability to tune hydrogel mechanics often requires changes in the polymer density, potentially altering the material's biochemical and physical characteristics. Additionally, with most PEG diacrylate (PEGDA) hydrogels, forming materials with compressive moduli less than ?10 kPa has been virtually impossible. Here, we present a new method of controlling the mechanical properties of PEGDA hydrogels independent of polymer chain density through the incorporation of additional vinyl group moieties that interfere with the cross-linking of the network. This modification can tune hydrogel mechanics in a concentration dependent manner from <1 to 17 kPa, a more physiologically relevant range than previously possible with PEG-based hydrogels, without altering the hydrogel's degradation and permeability. Across this range of mechanical properties, endothelial cells (ECs) encapsulated within MMP-2/MMP-9 degradable hydrogels with RGDS adhesive peptides revealed increased cell spreading as hydrogel stiffness decreased in contrast to behavior typically observed for cells on 2D surfaces. EC-pericyte cocultures exhibited vessel-like networks within 3 days in highly compliant hydrogels as compared to a week in stiffer hydrogels. These vessel networks persisted for at least 4 weeks and deposited laminin and collagen IV perivascularly. These results indicate that EC morphogenesis can be regulated using mechanical cues in 3D. Furthermore, controlling hydrogel compliance independent of density allows for the attainment of highly compliant mechanical regimes in materials that can act as customizable cell microenvironments.
Project description:The formation of a microvasculature is regulated in large part by cell-cell interactions. Ephrins and their Eph receptors mediate cell adhesion, repulsion, and migration, all critical processes in angiogenesis. (1) Here we use a covalently immobilized ephrinA1, conjugated to poly(ethylene glycol), to induce vessel formation both in vitro and in vivo in poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) hydrogels. Human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) tubulogenesis in matrix metalloproteinase-sensitive hydrogels was visualized from 6 h to 7 days in response to three different concentrations of PEG-ephrinA1. The deposition of extracellular matrix proteins collagen IV and laminin that stabilize tubule formation were imaged, quantified, and found to be dependent on PEG-ephrinA1 concentration. To confirm the importance of the EphA2-ephrinA1 interaction in tubule formation, soluble EphA2 was used to disrupt the EphA2-ephrinA1 interaction between a coculture of HUVEC and human brain vascular pericyte cells. HUVECs seeded onto PEGDA hydrogels displayed a dose-dependent reduction in tubule formation in response to the soluble EphA2. Finally, hydrogels with releasable platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), immobilized RGDS, and covalently immobilized PEG-ephrinA1 were implanted into the mouse cornea micropocket. These hydrogels induced a more robust vascular response with an increase in vessel density as compared with hydrogels with releasable PDGF alone. As such, PEG-ephrinA1 may represent a promising molecule to regulate cell adhesion and migration for formation of a microvasculature in tissue-engineered constructs.
Project description:Radiation therapy for head and neck cancers leads to permanent xerostomia due to the loss of secretory acinar cells in the salivary glands. Regenerative treatments utilizing primary submandibular gland (SMG) cells show modest improvements in salivary secretory function, but there is limited evidence of salivary gland regeneration. We have recently shown that poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogels can support the survival and proliferation of SMG cells as multicellular spheres in vitro. To further develop this approach for cell-based salivary gland regeneration, we have investigated how different modes of PEG hydrogel degradation affect the proliferation, cell-specific gene expression, and epithelial morphology within encapsulated salivary gland spheres. Comparison of non-degradable, hydrolytically-degradable, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-degradable, and mixed mode-degradable hydrogels showed that hydrogel degradation by any mechanism is required for significant proliferation of encapsulated cells. The expression of acinar phenotypic markers Aqp5 and Nkcc1 was increased in hydrogels that are MMP-degradable compared with other hydrogel compositions. However, expression of secretory acinar proteins Mist1 and Pip was not maintained to the same extent as phenotypic markers, suggesting changes in cell function upon encapsulation. Nevertheless, MMP- and mixed mode-degradability promoted organization of polarized cell types forming tight junctions and expression of the basement membrane proteins laminin and collagen IV within encapsulated SMG spheres. This work demonstrates that cellularly remodeled hydrogels can promote proliferation and gland-like organization by encapsulated salivary gland cells as well as maintenance of acinar cell characteristics required for regenerative approaches. Investigation is required to identify approaches to further enhance acinar secretory properties. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE:Regenerative strategies to replace damaged salivary glands require the function and organization of acinar cells. Hydrogel-based approaches have shown promise to control cell function and phenotype. However, little is known about how specific parameters, such as the mechanism of hydrogel degradation (e.g., hydrolytic or enzymatic), influence the viability, proliferation, organization, and phenotype of salivary gland cells. In this work, it is shown that hydrogel-encapsulated primary salivary gland cell proliferation is dependent upon hydrogel degradation. Hydrogels crosslinked with enzymatically degradable peptides promoted the expression of critical acinar cell markers, which are typically downregulated in primary cultures. Furthermore, salivary gland cells encapsulated in enzymatically- but not hydrolytically-degradable hydrogels displayed highly organized and polarized salivary gland cell markers, which mimics characteristics found in native gland tissue. In sum, results indicate that salivary gland cells respond to cellularly remodeled hydrogels, resulting in self-assembly and organization akin to acini substructures of the salivary gland.
Project description:Despite the recent expansion of peptide drugs, delivery remains a challenge due to poor localization and rapid clearance. Therefore, a hydrogel-based platform technology was developed to control and sustain peptide drug release via matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity. Specifically, hydrogels were composed of poly(ethylene glycol) and peptide drugs flanked by MMP substrates and terminal cysteine residues as crosslinkers. First, peptide drug bioactivity was investigated in expected released forms (e.g., with MMP substrate residues) in vitro prior to incorporation into hydrogels. Three peptides (Qk (from Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor), SPARC113, and SPARC118 (from Secreted Protein Acidic and Rich in Cysteine)) retained bioactivity and were used as hydrogel crosslinkers in full MMP degradable forms. Upon treatment with MMP2, hydrogels containing Qk, SPARC113, and SPARC118 degraded in 6.7, 6, and 1 days, and released 5, 8, and, 19% of peptide, respectively. Further investigation revealed peptide drug size controlled hydrogel swelling and degradation rate, while hydrophobicity impacted peptide release. Additionally, Qk, SPARC113, and SPARC118 releasing hydrogels increased endothelial cell tube formation 3.1, 1.7, and 2.8-fold, respectively. While pro-angiogenic peptides were the focus of this study, the design parameters detailed allow for adaptation of hydrogels to control peptide release for a variety of therapeutic applications.
Project description:Therapeutic angiogenesis holds great potential for a myriad of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine approaches. While a number of peptides have been identified with pro-angiogenic behaviors, therapeutic efficacy is limited by poor tissue localization and persistence. Therefore, poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels providing sustained, enzymatically-responsive peptide release were exploited for peptide delivery. Two pro-angiogenic peptide drugs, SPARC113 and SPARC118, from the Secreted Protein Acidic and Rich in Cysteine, were incorporated into hydrogels as crosslinking peptides flanked by matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) degradable substrates. In vitro testing confirmed peptide drug bioactivity requires sustained delivery. Furthermore, peptides retain bioactivity with residual MMP substrates present after hydrogel release. Incorporation into hydrogels achieved enzymatically-responsive bulk degradation, with peptide release in close agreement with hydrogel mass loss and released peptides retaining bioactivity. Interestingly, SPARC113 and SPARC118-releasing hydrogels had significantly different degradation time constants in vitro (1.16 and 8.77×10(-2) h(-1), respectively), despite identical MMP degradable substrates. However, upon subcutaneous implantation, both SPARC113 and SPARC118 hydrogels exhibited similar degradation constants of ~1.45×10(-2) h(-1), and resulted in significant ~1.65-fold increases in angiogenesis in vivo compared to controls. Thus, these hydrogels represent a promising pro-angiogenic approach for applications such as tissue engineering and ischemic tissue disorders.
Project description:MDA-MB-231 (ER-) and T47D (ER+) breast cancer cells were encapsulated in synthetic hydrogels, formed with a multi-arm bioinert polymer poly(ethylene glycol), cell-degradable peptide crosslinks, and receptor-binding pendant peptides, and cultured for 3 days to assess initial cell responses to different matrix compositions. The synthetic matrices had a Young's modulus (E) ~ 0.6 kPa, in the range of bone marrow and healthy mammary tissue, and biochemcial cues to mimic binding sites found in collagen (GFOGER peptide) or laminin (IKVAV peptide). After 3 days in culture, mRNA was collected and RNA-seq performed to compare cell responses between the collagen and laminin mimetic cultures. Overall design: Examination of two different peptide compositions, collagen (GFOGER) and laminin (IKVAV), on two breast cancer cell lines MDA-MB-231 (ER-) and T47D (ER+) cultured in three dimensional PEG hydrogels for 3 days.
Project description:Hydrogels with the potential to provide minimally invasive cell delivery represent a powerful tool for tissue-regeneration therapies. In this context, entrapped cells should be able to escape the matrix becoming more available to actively participate in the healing process. Here, we analyzed the performance of proteolytically degradable alginate hydrogels as vehicles for human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) transplantation. Alginate was modified with the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-sensitive peptide Pro-Val-Gly-Leu-Iso-Gly (PVGLIG), which did not promote dendritic cell maturation in vitro, neither free nor conjugated to alginate chains, indicating low immunogenicity. hMSC were entrapped within MMP-sensitive and MMP-insensitive alginate hydrogels, both containing cell-adhesion RGD peptides. Softer (2 wt % alginate) and stiffer (4 wt % alginate) matrices were tested. When embedded in a Matrigel layer, hMSC-laden MMP-sensitive alginate hydrogels promoted more extensive outward cell migration and invasion into the tissue mimic. In vivo, after 4 weeks of subcutaneous implantation in a xenograft mouse model, hMSC-laden MMP-sensitive alginate hydrogels showed higher degradation and host tissue invasion than their MMP-insensitive equivalents. In both cases, softer matrices degraded faster than stiffer ones. The transplanted hMSC were able to produce their own collagenous extracellular matrix, and were located not only inside the hydrogels, but also outside, integrated in the host tissue. In summary, injectable MMP-sensitive alginate hydrogels can act as localized depots of cells and confer protection to transplanted cells while facilitating tissue regeneration.
Project description:A critical design parameter for the function of synthetic extracellular matrices is to synchronize the gradual cell-mediated degradation of the matrix with the endogenous secretion of natural extracellular matrix (ECM) (e.g., creeping substitution). In hyaluronic acid (HyA)-based hydrogel matrices, we have investigated the effects of peptide crosslinkers with different matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) sensitivities on network degradation and neovascularization in vivo. The HyA hydrogel matrices consisted of cell adhesive peptides, heparin for both the presentation of exogenous and sequestration of endogenously synthesized growth factors, and MMP cleavable peptide linkages (i.e., QPQGLAK, GPLGMHGK, and GPLGLSLGK). Sca1(+)/CD45(-)/CD34(+)/CD44(+) cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) cultured in the matrices with the slowly degradable QPQGLAK hydrogels supported the highest production of MMP-2, MMP-9, MMP-13, VEGF165, and a range of angiogenesis related proteins. Hydrogels with QPQGLAK crosslinks supported prolonged retention of these proteins via heparin within the matrix, stimulating rapid vascular development, and anastomosis with the host vasculature when implanted in the murine hindlimb.
Project description:Valve endothelial cells (VEC) have unique phenotypic responses relative to other types of vascular endothelial cells and have highly sensitive hemostatic functions affected by changes in valve tissues. Furthermore, effects of environmental factors on VEC hemostatic function has not been characterized. This work used a poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) hydrogel platform to evaluate the effects of substrate stiffness and cell adhesive ligands on VEC phenotype and expression of hemostatic genes. Hydrogels of molecular weights (MWs) 3.4, 8, and 20 kDa were polymerized into platforms of different rigidities and thiol-modified cell adhesive peptides were covalently bound to acrylate groups on the hydrogel surfaces. The peptide RKRLQVQLSIRT (RKR) is a syndecan-1 binding ligand derived from laminin, a trimeric protein and a basement membrane matrix component. Conversely, RGDS is an integrin binding peptide found in many extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins including fibronectin, fibrinogen, and von Willebrand factor (VWF). VECs adhered to and formed a stable monolayer on all RKR-coated hydrogel-MW combinations. RGDS-coated platforms supported VEC adhesion and growth on RGDS-3.4 kDa and RGDS-8 kDa hydrogels. VECs cultured on the softer RKR-8 kDa and RKR-20 kDa hydrogel platforms had significantly higher gene expression for all anti-thrombotic (ADAMTS-13, tissue factor pathway inhibitor, and tissue plasminogen activator) and thrombotic (VWF, tissue factor, and P-selectin) proteins than VECs cultured on RGDS-coated hydrogels and tissue culture polystyrene controls. Stimulated VECs promoted greater platelet adhesion than non-stimulated VECs on their respective culture condition; yet stimulated VECs on RGDS-3.4 kDa gels were not as responsive to stimulation relative to the RKR-gel groups. Thus, the syndecan binding, laminin-derived peptide promoted stable VEC adhesion on the softer hydrogels and maintained VEC phenotype and natural hemostatic function. In conclusion, utilization of non-integrin adhesive peptide sequences derived from basement membrane ECM may recapitulate balanced VEC function and may benefit endothelialization of valve implants.