A Novel Strategy to Engineer Pre-Vascularized Full-Length Dental Pulp-like Tissue Constructs.
ABSTRACT: The requirement for immediate vascularization of engineered dental pulp poses a major hurdle towards successful implementation of pulp regeneration as an effective therapeutic strategy for root canal therapy, especially in adult teeth. Here, we demonstrate a novel strategy to engineer pre-vascularized, cell-laden hydrogel pulp-like tissue constructs in full-length root canals for dental pulp regeneration. We utilized gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) hydrogels with tunable physical and mechanical properties to determine the microenvironmental conditions (microstructure, degradation, swelling and elastic modulus) that enhanced viability, spreading and proliferation of encapsulated odontoblast-like cells (OD21), and the formation of endothelial monolayers by endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs). GelMA hydrogels with higher polymer concentration (15% w/v) and stiffness enhanced OD21 cell viability, spreading and proliferation, as well as endothelial cell spreading and monolayer formation. We then fabricated pre-vascularized, full-length, dental pulp-like tissue constructs by dispensing OD21 cell-laden GelMA hydrogel prepolymer in root canals of extracted teeth and fabricating 500?µm channels throughout the root canals. ECFCs seeded into the microchannels successfully formed monolayers and underwent angiogenic sprouting within 7 days in culture. In summary, the proposed approach is a simple and effective strategy for engineering of pre-vascularized dental pulp constructs offering potentially beneficial translational outcomes.
Project description:Pulpal revascularization is commonly used in the dental clinic to obtain apical closure of immature permanent teeth with thin dentinal walls. Although sometimes successful, stimulating bleeding from the periapical area of the tooth can be challenging and in turn may deleteriously affect tooth root maturation. Our objective here was to define reliable methods to regenerate pulp-like tissues in tooth root segments (RSs). G1 RSs were injected with human dental pulp stem cells (hDPSCs) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) encapsulated in 5% gelatin methacrylate (GelMA) hydrogel. G2 RSs injected with acellular GelMA alone, and G3 empty RSs were used as controls. White mineral trioxide aggregate was used to seal one end of the tooth root segment, while the other was left open. Samples were cultured in vitro in osteogenic media (OM) for 13 d and then implanted subcutaneously in nude rats for 4 and 8 wk. At least 5 sample replicates were used for each experimental group. Analyses of harvested samples found that robust pulp-like tissues formed in G1, GelMA encapsulated hDPSC/HUVEC-filled RSs, and less cellularized host cell-derived pulp-like tissue was observed in the G2 acellular GelMA and G3 empty RS groups. Of importance, only the G1, hDPSC/HUVEC-encapsulated GelMA constructs formed pulp cells that attached to the inner dentin surface of the RS and infiltrated into the dentin tubules. Immunofluorescent (IF) histochemical analysis showed that GelMA supported hDPSC/HUVEC cell attachment and proliferation and also provided attachment for infiltrating host cells. Human cell-seeded GelMA hydrogels promoted the establishment of well-organized neovasculature formation. In contrast, acellular GelMA and empty RS constructs supported the formation of less organized host-derived vasculature formation. Together, these results identify GelMA hydrogel combined with hDPSC/HUVECs as a promising new clinically relevant pulpal revascularization treatment to regenerate human dental pulp tissues.
Project description:Bioinks with shear-thinning/rapid solidification properties and strong mechanics are usually needed for the bioprinting of three-dimensional (3D) cell-laden constructs. As such, it remains challenging to generate soft constructs from bioinks at low concentrations that are favorable for cellular activities. Herein, we report a strategy to fabricate cell-laden constructs with tunable 3D microenvironments achieved by bioprinting of gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA)/alginate core/sheath microfibers, where the alginate sheath serves as a template to support and confine the GelMA pre-hydrogel in the core during the extrusion process, allowing for subsequent UV crosslinking. This novel strategy minimizes the bioprinting requirements for the core bioink, and facilitates the fabrication of cell-laden GelMA constructs at low concentrations. We first showed the capability of generating various alginate hollow microfibrous constructs using a coaxial nozzle setup, and verified the diffusibility and perfusability of the bioprinted hollow structures that are important for the tissue engineering applications. More importantly, the hollow alginate microfibers were then used as templates for generating cell-laden GelMA constructs with soft microenvironments, by using GelMA pre-hydrogel as the bioink for the core phase during bioprinting. As such, GelMA constructs at extremely low concentrations (<2.0%) could be extruded to effectively support cellular activities including proliferation and spreading for various cell types. We believe that our strategy is likely to provide broad opportunities in bioprinting of 3D constructs with cell-favorable microenvironments for applications in tissue engineering and pharmaceutical screening.
Project description:Aim:To 3D print heart tissue, one must understand how the main two types of cardiac cells are affected by the printing process. Materials & methods:Effects of gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) concentration, extruder pressure and duration of UV exposure on survival of cardiac myocytes and fibroblasts were examined using lactate dehydrogenase and LIVE/DEAD assays, bioluminescence imaging and morphological assessment. Results & conclusion:Cell survival within 3D printed cardiomyocyte-laden GelMA constructs was more sensitive to extruder pressure and GelMA concentrations than within 3D fibroblast-laden GelMA constructs. Cells within both types of constructs were adversely impacted by the UV curing step. Use of mixed cell populations and enrichment of bioink formulation with fibronectin led to an improvement of cardiomyocyte survival and spreading.
Project description:The clinical translation of stem-cell-based dental pulp regeneration will require the use of injectable scaffolds. Here, we tested the hypothesis that stem cells from exfoliated deciduous teeth (SHED) can generate a functional dental pulp when injected into full-length root canals. SHED survived and began to express putative markers of odontoblastic differentiation after 7 days when mixed with Puramatrix™ (peptide hydrogel), or after 14 days when mixed with recombinant human Collagen (rhCollagen) type I, and injected into the root canals of human premolars in vitro. Roots of human premolars injected with scaffolds (Puramatrix™ or rhCollagen) containing SHED were implanted subcutaneously into immunodeficient mice (CB-17 SCID). We observed pulp-like tissues with odontoblasts capable of generating new tubular dentin throughout the root canals. Notably, the pulp tissue engineered with SHED injected with either Puramatrix™ or rhCollagen type I presented similar cellularity and vascularization when compared with control human dental pulps. Analysis of these data, collectively, demonstrates that SHED injected into full-length human root canals differentiate into functional odontoblasts, and suggests that such a strategy might facilitate the completion of root formation in necrotic immature permanent teeth.
Project description:Bioprinting is an emerging technique for the fabrication of 3D cell-laden constructs. However, the progress for generating a 3D complex physiological microenvironment has been hampered by a lack of advanced cell-responsive bioinks that enable bioprinting with high structural fidelity, particularly in the case of extrusion-based bioprinting. Herein, this paper reports a novel strategy to directly bioprint cell-laden gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) constructs using bioinks of GelMA physical gels (GPGs) achieved through a simple cooling process. Attributed to their shear-thinning and self-healing properties, the GPG bioinks can retain the shape and form integral structures after deposition, allowing for subsequent UV crosslinking for permanent stabilization. This paper shows the structural fidelity by bioprinting various 3D structures that are typically challenging to fabricate using conventional bioinks under extrusion modes. Moreover, the use of the GPG bioinks enables direct bioprinting of highly porous and soft constructs at relatively low concentrations (down to 3%) of GelMA. It is also demonstrated that the bioprinted constructs not only permit cell survival but also enhance cell proliferation as well as spreading at lower concentrations of the GPG bioinks. It is believed that such a strategy of bioprinting will provide many opportunities in convenient fabrication of 3D cell-laden constructs for applications in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and pharmaceutical screening.
Project description:3D bioprinting technology provides programmable and customizable platforms to engineer cell-laden constructs mimicking human tissues for a wide range of biomedical applications. However, the encapsulated cells are often restricted in spreading and proliferation by dense biomaterial networks from gelation of bioinks. Herein, a cell-benign approach is reported to directly bioprint porous-structured hydrogel constructs by using an aqueous two-phase emulsion bioink. The bioink, which contains two immiscible aqueous phases of cell/gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) mixture and poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO), is photocrosslinked to fabricate predesigned cell-laden hydrogel constructs by extrusion bioprinting or digital micromirror device-based stereolithographic bioprinting. The porous structure of the 3D-bioprinted hydrogel construct is formed by subsequently removing the PEO phase from the photocrosslinked GelMA hydrogel. Three different cell types (human hepatocellular carcinoma cells, human umbilical vein endothelial cells, and NIH/3T3 mouse embryonic fibroblasts) within the 3D-bioprinted porous hydrogel patterns show enhanced cell viability, spreading, and proliferation compared to the standard (i.e., nonporous) hydrogel constructs. The 3D bioprinting strategy is believed to provide a robust and versatile platform to engineer porous-structured tissue constructs and their models for a variety of applications in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, drug development, and personalized therapeutics.
Project description:Tissue engineering promises to restore or replace diseased or damaged tissue by creating functional and transplantable artificial tissues. The development of artificial tissues with large dimensions that exceed the diffusion limitation will require nutrients and oxygen to be delivered via perfusion instead of diffusion alone over a short time period. One approach to perfusion is to vascularize engineered tissues, creating a de novo three-dimensional (3D) microvascular network within the tissue construct. This significantly shortens the time of in vivo anastomosis, perfusion and graft integration with the host. In this study, we aimed to develop injectable allogeneic collagen-phenolic hydroxyl (collagen-Ph) hydrogels that are capable of controlling a wide range of physicochemical properties, including stiffness, water absorption and degradability. We tested whether collagen-Ph hydrogels could support the formation of vascularized engineered tissue graft by human blood-derived endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs) and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) in vivo. First, we studied the growth of adherent ECFCs and MSCs on or in the hydrogels. To examine the potential formation of functional vascular networks in vivo, a liquid pre-polymer solution of collagen-Ph containing human ECFCs and MSCs, horseradish peroxidase and hydrogen peroxide was injected into the subcutaneous space or abdominal muscle defect of an immunodeficient mouse before gelation, to form a 3D cell-laden polymerized construct. These results showed that extensive human ECFC-lined vascular networks can be generated within 7 days, the engineered vascular density inside collagen-Ph hydrogel constructs can be manipulated through refinable mechanical properties and proteolytic degradability, and these networks can form functional anastomoses with the existing vasculature to further support the survival of host muscle tissues. Finally, optimized conditions of the cell-laden collagen-Ph hydrogel resulted in not only improving the long-term differentiation of transplanted MSCs into mineralized osteoblasts, but the collagen-Ph hydrogel also improved an increased of adipocytes within the vascularized bioengineered tissue in a mouse after 1 month of implantation.We reported a method for preparing autologous extracellular matrix scaffolds, murine collagen-Ph hydrogels, and demonstrated its suitability for use in supporting human progenitor cell-based formation of 3D vascular networks in vitro and in vivo. Results showed extensive human vascular networks can be generated within 7 days, engineered vascular density inside collagen-Ph constructs can be manipulated through refinable mechanical properties and proteolytic degradability, and these networks can form functional anastomoses with existing vasculature to further support the survival of host muscle tissues. Moreover, optimized conditions of cell-laden collagen-Ph hydrogel resulted in not only improving the long-term differentiation of transplanted MSCs into mineralized osteoblasts, but the collagen-Ph hydrogel also improved an increased of adipocytes within the vascularized bioengineered tissue in a mouse.
Project description:The generation of functional, 3D vascular networks is a fundamental prerequisite for the development of many future tissue engineering-based therapies. Current approaches in vascular network bioengineering are largely carried out using natural hydrogels as embedding scaffolds. However, most natural hydrogels present a poor mechanical stability and a suboptimal durability, which are critical limitations that hamper their widespread applicability. The search for improved hydrogels has become a priority in tissue engineering research. Here, the suitability of a photopolymerizable gelatin methacrylate (GelMA) hydrogel to support human progenitor cell-based formation of vascular networks is demonstrated. Using GelMA as the embedding scaffold, it is shown that 3D constructs containing human blood-derived endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs) and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) generate extensive capillary-like networks in vitro. These vascular structures contain distinct lumens that are formed by the fusion of ECFC intracellular vacuoles in a process of vascular morphogenesis. The process of vascular network formation is dependent on the presence of MSCs, which differentiate into perivascular cells occupying abluminal positions within the network. Importantly, it is shown that implantation of cell-laden GelMA hydrogels into immunodeficient mice results in a rapid formation of functional anastomoses between the bioengineered human vascular network and the mouse vasculature. Furthermore, it is shown that the degree of methacrylation of the GelMA can be used to modulate the cellular behavior and the extent of vascular network formation both in vitro and in vivo. These data suggest that GelMA hydrogels can be used for biomedical applications that require the formation of microvascular networks, including the development of complex engineered tissues.
Project description:Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine technologies offer promising therapies for both medicine and dentistry. Our long-term goal is to create functional biomimetic tooth buds for eventual tooth replacement in humans. Here, our objective was to create a biomimetic 3D tooth bud model consisting of dental epithelial (DE) - dental mesenchymal (DM) cell sheets (CSs) combined with biomimetic enamel organ and pulp organ layers created using GelMA hydrogels. Pig DE or DM cells seeded on temperature-responsive plates at various cell densities (0.02, 0.114 and 0.228 cells 10(6)/cm(2)) and cultured for 7, 14 and 21 days were used to generate DE and DM cell sheets, respectively. Dental CSs were combined with GelMA encapsulated DE and DM cell layers to form bioengineered 3D tooth buds. Biomimetic 3D tooth bud constructs were cultured in vitro, or implanted in vivo for 3 weeks. Analyses were performed using micro-CT, H&E staining, polarized light (Pol) microscopy, immunofluorescent (IF) and immunohistochemical (IHC) analyses. H&E, IHC and IF analyses showed that in vitro cultured multilayered DE-DM CSs expressed appropriate tooth marker expression patterns including SHH, BMP2, RUNX2, tenascin and syndecan, which normally direct DE-DM interactions, DM cell condensation, and dental cell differentiation. In vivo implanted 3D tooth bud constructs exhibited mineralized tissue formation of specified size and shape, and SHH, BMP2 and RUNX2and dental cell differentiation marker expression. We propose our biomimetic 3D tooth buds as models to study optimized DE-DM cell interactions leading to functional biomimetic replacement tooth formation.