In Vivo Assessment of Bone Regeneration in Alginate/Bone ECM Hydrogels with Incorporated Skeletal Stem Cells and Single Growth Factors.
ABSTRACT: The current study has investigated the use of decellularised, demineralised bone extracellular matrix (ECM) hydrogel constructs for in vivo tissue mineralisation and bone formation. Stro-1-enriched human bone marrow stromal cells were incorporated together with select growth factors including VEGF, TGF-?3, BMP-2, PTHrP and VitD3, to augment bone formation, and mixed with alginate for structural support. Growth factors were delivered through fast (non-osteogenic factors) and slow (osteogenic factors) release PLGA microparticles. Constructs of 5 mm length were implanted in vivo for 28 days within mice. Dense tissue assessed by micro-CT correlated with histologically assessed mineralised bone formation in all constructs. Exogenous growth factor addition did not enhance bone formation further compared to alginate/bone ECM (ALG/ECM) hydrogels alone. UV irradiation reduced bone formation through degradation of intrinsic growth factors within the bone ECM component and possibly also ECM cross-linking. BMP-2 and VitD3 rescued osteogenic induction. ALG/ECM hydrogels appeared highly osteoinductive and delivery of angiogenic or chondrogenic growth factors led to altered bone formation. All constructs demonstrated extensive host tissue invasion and vascularisation aiding integration and implant longevity. The proposed hydrogel system functioned without the need for growth factor incorporation or an exogenous inducible cell source. Optimal growth factor concentrations and spatiotemporal release profiles require further assessment, as the bone ECM component may suffer batch variability between donor materials. In summary, ALG/ECM hydrogels provide a versatile biomaterial scaffold for utilisation within regenerative medicine which may be tailored, ultimately, to form the tissue of choice through incorporation of select growth factors.
Project description:Background:Hydrogels with tuneable mechanical properties are an attractive material platform for 3D bioprinting. Thus far, numerous studies have confirmed that the biophysical cues of hydrogels, such as stiffness, are known to have a profound impact on mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation; however, their differentiation potential within 3D-bioprinted hydrogels is not completely understood. Here, we propose a protocol for the exploration of how the stiffness of alginate-gelatin (Alg-Gel) composite hydrogels (the widely used bioink) affects the differentiation of MSCs in the presence or absence of differentiation inducing factors. Methods:Two types of Alg-Gel composite hydrogels (Young's modulus: 50 kPa vs. 225 kPa) were bioprinted independently of porosity. Then, stiffness-induced biases towards adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation of the embedded MSCs were analysed by co-staining with alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and oil red O. The expression of specific markers at the gene level was detected after a 3-day culture. Results:Confocal microscopy indicated that all tested hydrogels supported MSC growth and viability during the culture period. Higher expression of adipogenic and osteogenic markers (ALP and lipoprotein lipase (LPL)) in stiffer 3D-bioprinted matrices demonstrated a more significant response of MSCs to stiffer hydrogels with respect to differentiation, which was more robust in differentiation-inducing medium. However, the LPL expression in stiffer 3D-bioprinted constructs was reduced at day 3 regardless of the presence of differentiation-inducing factors. Although MSCs embedded in softer hydrogels to some extent proceeded toward adipogenic and osteogenic lineages within a few days, their differentiation seemed to be slower and more limited. Interestingly, the hydrogel itself (without differentiation-inducing factors) exhibited a slight effect on whether MSCs differentiated towards an adipogenic or an osteogenic fate. Considering that the mechano-regulated protein Yes-associated protein (YAP) is involved in MSC fate decisions, we further found that inhibition of YAP significantly downregulated the expression of ALP and LPL in MSCs in stiffer constructs regardless of the induced growth factors present. Conclusions:These results demonstrate that the differentiation of MSCs in 3D-bioprinted matrices is dependent on hydrogel stiffness, which emphasizes the importance of biophysical cues as a determinant of cellular behaviour.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Design of bioactive scaffolds with osteogenic capacity is a central challenge in cell-based patient-specific bone tissue engineering. Efficient and spatially uniform seeding of (stem) cells onto such constructs is vital to attain functional tissues. Herein we developed heparin functionalized collagen gels supported by 3D printed bioceramic scaffolds, as bone extracellular matrix (ECM)-mimetic matrices. These matrices were designed to enhance cell seeding efficiency of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as well as improve their osteogenic differentiation through immobilized bone morphogenic protein 2 (BMP2) to be used for personalized bone regeneration. METHODS:A 3D gel based on heparin-conjugated collagen matrix capable of immobilizing recombinant human bone morphogenic protein 2 (BMP2) was synthesized. Isolated dental pulp Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were then encapsulated into the bone ECM microenvironment to efficiently and uniformly seed a bioactive ceramic-based scaffold fabricated using additive manufacturing technique. The designed 3D cell-laden constructs were comprehensively investigated trough in vitro assays and in vivo study. RESULTS:In-depth rheological characterizations of heparin-conjugated collagen gel revealed that elasticity of the matrix is significantly improved compared with freely incorporated heparin. Investigation of the MSCs laden collagen-heparin hydrogels revealed their capability to provide spatiotemporal bioavailability of BMP2 while suppressing the matrix contraction over time. The in vivo histology and real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis showed that the designed construct supported the osteogenic differentiation of MSCs and induced the ectopic bone formation in rat model. SIGNIFICANCE:The presented hybrid constructs combine bone ECM chemical cues with mechanical function providing an ideal 3D microenvironment for patient-specific bone tissue engineering and cell therapy applications. The implemented methodology in design of ECM-mimetic 3D matrix capable of immobilizing BMP2 to improve seeding efficiency of customized scaffolds can be exploited for other bioactive molecules.
Project description:The ability to modulate stem cell differentiation in a three dimensional (3D) microenvironment for bone tissue engineering in absence of exogenous pharmaceutical agents such as bone morphogenic protein (BMP-2) remains a challenge. In this study, we introduce extracellular matrix (ECM)-mimicking nanocomposite hydrogels to induce osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) for bone regeneration in absence of any osteoinducting factors. In particular, we have reinforced photocrosslinkable collagen-based matrix (gelatin methacryloyl, GelMA) used disk-shaped nanosilicates (nSi), a new class of two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials. We show that nanoengineered hydrogels supported migration and proliferation of encapsulated hMSCs, with no signs of cell apoptosis or inflammatory cytokine responses. The addition of nSi significantly enhances osteogenic differentiation of encapsulated hMSCs as evident by the increase in alkaline phosphates (ALP) activity and deposition of biomineralized matrix compared to GelMA without nSi. We also show that microfabricated nanoengineered microgels can be used to pattern and control cellular behaviour. Furthermore, we also show that nanoengineered hydrogel have high biocompatibility as determined by in vivo experiments using immunocompetent rat model. Specifically, the hydrogels showed minimum localized immune responses, indicating it ability for tissue engineering applications. Overall, we showed the ability of nanoengineered hydrogels loaded with 2D nanosilicates for osteogenic differentiation of stem cells in vitro, in absence of any growth factors such as BMP-2. Our in vivo studies show high biocompatibility of nanocomposites and show the potential for growth factor free bone regeneration.
Project description:Supramolecular and dynamic biomaterials hold promise to recapitulate the time-dependent properties and stimuli-responsiveness of the native extracellular matrix (ECM). Host-guest chemistry is one of the most widely studied supramolecular bonds, yet the binding characteristics of host-guest complexes (?-CD/adamantane) in relevant biomaterials have mostly focused on singular host-guest interactions or nondiscrete multivalent pendent polymers. The stepwise synergistic effect of multivalent host-guest interactions for the formation of dynamic biomaterials remains relatively unreported. In this work, we study how a series of multivalent adamantane (guest) cross-linkers affect the overall binding affinity and ability to form supramolecular networks with alginate-CD (Alg-CD). These binding constants of the multivalent cross-linkers were determined via NMR titrations and showed increases in binding constants occurring with multivalent constructs. The higher multivalent cross-linkers enabled hydrogel formation; furthermore, an increase in binding and gelation was observed with the inclusion of a phenyl spacer to the cross-linker. A preliminary screen shows that only cross-linking Alg-CD with an 8-arm-multivalent guest results in robust gel formation. These cytocompatible hydrogels highlight the importance of multivalent design for dynamically cross-linked hydrogels. These materials hold promise for development toward cell- and small molecule-delivery platforms and allow discrete and fine-tuning of network properties.
Project description:The application of bone tissue engineering for repairing bone defects has gradually shown some satisfactory progress. One of the concerns raising scientific attention is the poor supply of growth factors. A number of growth factor delivery approaches have been developed for promoting bone formation. However, there is no systematic comparison of those approaches on efficiency of neobone formation. In this study, the approaches using periosteum, direct supply of growth factors, or gene transfection of growth factors were evaluated to determine the osteogenic capacity on the repair of bone defect.In total, 42 male 21-week-old Sprague-Dawley rats weighing 250 to 400 g were used as the bone defect model to evaluate the bone repair efficiency. Various tissue engineered constructs of poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(l-lactic acid) (PEG-PLLA) copolymer hydrogel with periosteum, with external supply of bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP2), or with BMP2-transfected bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) were filled in a 7-mm bone defect region. Animals were euthanized at 3 months, and the hydrogel constructs were harvested. The evaluation with histological staining and radiography analysis were performed for the volume of new bone formation.The PEG-PLLA scaffold with BMMSCs promotes bone regeneration with the addition of periosteum. The group with BMP2-transfected BMMSCs demonstrated the largest volume of new bone among all the testing groups.Altogether, the results of this study provide the evidence that the combination of PEG-PLLA hydrogels with BMMSCs and sustained delivery of BMP2 resulted in the maximal bone regeneration.
Project description:Osteoblasts derived from mouse skulls have increased osteoclastogenic potential compared to long bone osteoblasts when stimulated with 1,25(OH)2 vitamin D3 (vitD3). This indicates that bone cells from specific sites can react differently to biochemical signals, e.g., during inflammation or as emitted by bioactive bone tissue-engineering constructs. Given the high turn-over of alveolar bone, we hypothesized that human alveolar bone-derived osteoblasts have an increased osteogenic and osteoclastogenic potential compared to the osteoblasts derived from long bone. The osteogenic and osteoclastogenic capacity of alveolar bone cells and long bone cells were assessed in the presence and absence of osteotropic agent vitD3. Both cell types were studied in osteogenesis experiments, using an osteogenic medium, and in osteoclastogenesis experiments by co-culturing osteoblasts with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Both osteogenic and osteoclastic markers were measured. At day 0, long bones seem to have a more late-osteoblastic/preosteocyte-like phenotype compared to the alveolar bone cells as shown by slower proliferation, the higher expression of the matrix molecule Osteopontin (OPN) and the osteocyte-enriched cytoskeletal component Actin alpha 1 (ACTA1). This phenotype was maintained during the osteogenesis assays, where long bone-derived cells still expressed more OPN and ACTA1. Under co-culture conditions with PBMCs, long bone cells also had a higher Tumor necrose factor-alfa (TNF-?) expression and induced the formation of osteoclasts more than alveolar bone cells. Correspondingly, the expression of osteoclast genes dendritic cell specific transmembrane protein (DC-STAMP) and Receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-? ligand (RankL) was higher in long bone co-cultures. Together, our results indicate that long bone-derived osteoblasts are more active in bone-remodeling processes, especially in osteoclastogenesis, than alveolar bone-derived cells. This indicates that tissue-engineering solutions need to be specifically designed for the site of application, such as defects in long bones vs. the regeneration of alveolar bone after severe periodontitis.
Project description:Formation of the native bone extracellular matrix (ECM) provides an attractive template for bone tissue engineering. The structural support and biological complexity of bone ECM are provided within a composite microenvironment that consists of an organic fibrous network reinforced by inorganic hydroxyapatite (HA) nanoparticles. Recreating this biphasic assembly, a bone ECM analogous scaffold comprising self-assembling peptide amphiphile (PA) nanofibers and interspersed HA nanoparticles was investigated. PAs were endowed with biomolecular ligand signaling using a synthetically inscribed peptide sequence (i.e., RGDS) and integrated with HA nanoparticles to form a biphasic nanomatrix hydrogel. It was hypothesized the biphasic hydrogel would induce osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and improve bone healing as mediated by RGDS ligand signaling within PA nanofibers and embedded HA mineralization source. Viscoelastic stability of the biphasic PA hydrogels was evaluated with different weight concentrations of HA for improved gelation. After demonstrating initial viability, long-term cellularity and osteoinduction of encapsulated hMSCs in different PA hydrogels were studied in vitro. Temporal progression of osteogenic maturation was assessed by gene expression of key markers. A preliminary animal study demonstrated bone healing capacity of the biphasic PA nanomatrix under physiological conditions using a critical size femoral defect rat model. The combination of RGDS ligand signaling and HA nanoparticles within the biphasic PA nanomatrix hydrogel demonstrated the most effective osteoinduction and comparative bone healing response. Therefore, the biphasic PA nanomatrix establishes a well-organized scaffold with increased similarity to natural bone ECM with the prospect for improved bone tissue regeneration.
Project description:The intracellular delivery of growth factors increases opportunities for controlling cell behavior and maintaining tissue homeostasis. Recently, VEGFA was reported to enhance osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) through an intracrine mechanism, suggesting a new strategy to promote bone tissue formation in osteoporotic patients. The goal of this study was to design and fabricate ligand-conjugated alginate-graft-poly(ethylene glycol) microspheres for intracellular delivery and release of VEGFA in primary human MSCs to enhance osteogenic differentiation as a potential therapeutic. Three types of microspheres were synthesized and characterized by scanning electron microscopy, in vitro drug release kinetics, MSC uptake and internalization: alginate alone (Alg), alginate-graft-poly(ethylene glycol) (Alg-g-PEG) and alginate-graft-poly(ethylene glycol)-S-S-arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (Alg-g-RGD). Each of the different microsphere formulations successfully transported bioactive VEGFA into primary human MSCs within 48h of culture, and significantly enhanced osteogenic differentiation compared to control treatments with empty microspheres (intracellular control) or non-encapsulated VEGFA (extracellular control). Adipogenic differentiation was not affected by the presence of VEGFA intracellularly or extracellularly. These results demonstrating the internalization of alginate-based microspheres and intracellular delivery of VEGFA support the efficacy of using this drug delivery and intracrine mechanism to control the fate of human MSCs and enhance osteogenic differentiation.
Project description:Growth factors have been shown to be powerful mediators of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) osteogenic differentiation. However, their use in tissue engineered scaffolds not only can be costly but also can induce undesired responses in surrounding tissues. Thus, the ability to specifically promote MSC osteogenic differentiation in the absence of exogenous growth factors via the manipulation of scaffold material properties would be beneficial. The current work examines the influence of select extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins on MSC osteogenesis toward the goal of developing scaffolds with intrinsically osteoinductive properties. Fibrinogen (FG), fibronectin (FN) and laminin-1 (LN) were chosen for evaluation due to their known roles in bone morphogenesis or bone fracture healing. These proteins were conjugated into poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) hydrogels and their effects on encapsulated 10T½ MSCs were evaluated. Specifically, following 1week of culture, mid-term markers of various MSC lineages were examined in order to assess the strength and specificity of the observed osteogenic responses. PEG-LN gels demonstrated increased levels of the osteogenic transcription factor osterix relative to day 0 levels. In addition, PEG-FG and PEG-LN gels were associated with increased deposition of bone ECM protein osteocalcin relative to PEG-FN gels and day 0. Importantly, the osteogenic response associated with FG and LN appeared to be specific in that markers for chondrocytic, smooth muscle cell and adipocytic lineages were not similarly elevated relative to day 0 in these gels. To gain insight into the integrin dynamics underlying the observed differentiation results, initial integrin adhesion and temporal alterations in cell integrin profiles were evaluated. The associated results suggest that ?(2), ?(v) and ?(6) integrin subunits may play key roles in integrin-mediated osteogenesis.
Project description:Moderate to weak mechanical properties limit the use of naturally-derived tissue sealants for dynamic medical applications, e.g., sealing a lung leak. To overcome these limitations, we developed visible-light crosslinked alginate-based hydrogels, as either non-adhesive methacrylated alginate (Alg-MA) hydrogel controls, or oxidized Alg-MA (Alg-MA-Ox) tissue adhesive tissue sealants, which form covalent bonds with extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Our study investigated the potential for visible-light crosslinked Alg-MA-Ox hydrogels to serve as effective surgical tissue sealants for dynamic in vivo systems. The Alg-MA-Ox hydrogels were designed to be an injectable system, curable in situ. Burst pressure experiments were conducted on a custom-fabricated burst pressure device using constant air flow; burst pressure properties and adhesion characteristics correlated with the degrees of methacrylation and oxidation. In summary, visible light crosslinked Alg-MA-Ox hydrogel tissue sealants form effective seals over critically-sized defects, and maintain pressures up to 50mm Hg.