The mouse heart is a popular model for cardiovascular studies due to the existence of low cost technology for genetic engineering in this species. Cardiovascular physiological phenotyping of the mouse heart can be easily done using fluorescence imaging employing various probes for transmembrane potential (Vm), calcium transients (CaT), and other parameters. Excitation-contraction coupling is characterized by action potential and intracellular calcium dynamics; therefore, it is critically important to map both Vm and CaT simultaneously from the same location on the heart1-4. Simultaneous optical mapping from Langendorff perfused mouse hearts has the potential to elucidate mechanisms underlying heart failure, arrhythmias, metabolic disease, and other heart diseases. Visualization of activation, conduction velocity, action potential duration, and other parameters at a myriad of sites cannot be achieved from cellular level investigation but is well solved by optical mapping1,5,6. In this paper we present the instrumentation setup and experimental conditions for simultaneous optical mapping of Vm and CaT in mouse hearts with high spatio-temporal resolution using state-of-the-art CMOS imaging technology. Consistent optical recordings obtained with this method illustrate that simultaneous optical mapping of Langendorff perfused mouse hearts is both feasible and reliable.
Implantable cardiovascular devices are manufactured from artificial materials (e.g. titanium (Ti), expanded polytetrafluoroethylene), which pose the risk of thromboemboli formation1,2,3. We have developed a method to line the inside surface of Ti tubes with autologous blood-derived human or porcine endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs)4. By implanting Ti tubes containing a confluent layer of porcine EPCs in the inferior vena cava (IVC) of pigs, we tested the improved biocompatibility of the cell-seeded surface in the prothrombotic environment of a large animal model and compared it to unmodified bare metal surfaces5,6,7 (Figure 1). This method can be used to endothelialize devices within minutes of implantation and test their antithrombotic function in vivo.
Nanotechnology is a relatively new branch of science that involves harnessing the unique properties of particles that are nanometers in scale (nanoparticles). Nanoparticles can be engineered in a precise fashion where their size, composition and surface chemistry can be carefully controlled. This enables unprecedented freedom to modify some of the fundamental properties of their cargo, such as solubility, diffusivity, biodistribution, release characteristics and immunogenicity. Since their inception, nanoparticles have been utilized in many areas of science and medicine, including drug delivery, imaging, and cell biology1-4. However, it has not been fully utilized outside of "nanotechnology laboratories" due to perceived technical barrier. In this article, we describe a simple method to synthesize a polymer based nanoparticle platform that has a wide range of potential applications.
Optical imaging and fluorescent probes have significantly advanced research methodology in the field of cardiac electrophysiology in ways that could not have been accomplished by other approaches1. With the use of the calcium- and voltage-sensitive dyes, optical mapping allows measurement of transmembrane action potentials and calcium transients with high spatial resolution without the physical contact with the tissue. This makes measurements of the cardiac electrical activity possible under many conditions where the use of electrodes is inconvenient or impossible1. For example, optical recordings provide accurate morphological changes of membrane potential during and immediately after stimulation and defibrillation, while conventional electrode techniques suffer from stimulus-induced artifacts during and after stimuli due to electrode polarization1.
Rupture of ACL is a common injury. While the current surgical treatments are effective, many patients still suffer from precocious osteoarthritis, and there is an increasing interest in bioengineering approaches to improve ACL repair. Bovine collagen is a material currently in use for tissue engineering of ligaments. The alpha-gal epitopes found on bovine cells are a source of immunogenic stimulus for human cells. In this study, we wished to determine if those epitopes could be removed sufficiently to mitigate an immunogenic response using either a decellularization protocol or decellularization followed by alpha-galactosidase treatment. Bovine ACLs were treated with Triton-X, sodium deoxycholate, ribonuclease, and deoxyribonuclease to remove cells. A subset of the decellularized tissues was further treated with alpha-galactosidase. Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were exposed to untreated, decellularized, and alpha-galactosidase-treated tissues, and PBMC migration and IL-6 release were measured. PBMCs were significantly more attracted to untreated ACL compared to decellularized or alpha-galactosidase-treated tissue, but no difference was seen between the two treatment groups. PBMCs also released significantly more IL-6 when exposed to untreated tissue compared to decellularized ACL or alpha-galactosidase-treated ACL...
The field of AC electrokinetics is rapidly growing due to its ability to perform dynamic fluid and particle manipulation on the micro- and nano-scale, which is essential for Lab-on-a-Chip applications. AC electrokinetic phenomena use electric fields to generate forces that act on fluids or suspended particles (including those made of dielectric or biological material) and cause them to move in astonishing ways1, 2. Within a single channel, AC electrokinetics can accomplish many essential on-chip operations such as active micro-mixing, particle separation, particle positioning and micro-pattering. A single device may accomplish several of those operations by simply adjusting operating parameters such as frequency or amplitude of the applied voltage. Suitable electric fields can be readily created by micro-electrodes integrated into microchannels. It is clear from the tremendous growth in this field that AC electrokinetics will likely have a profound effect on healthcare diagnostics3-5, environmental monitoring6 and homeland security7.
Progenitor/stem cell (PSC) has shown great promise for generation in failing heart. Advances in PSC biology have greatly enhanced our understanding of how PSC self-renewal, migration, maintenance of stemness, and cell-fate commitment depend on the balance of complex signals in their microenvironment. Endogenous PSC exists within structural and functional units known as PSC niches, which play important roles in directing PSC behavior. Recent years have witnessed great progress in our understanding of the PSC niche in cardiovascular biology. PSC based therapy could lead to successful cardiac regeneration or repair. Realizing the potential of therapeutic strategies is based on 1) differentiation of the PSC into all of the cellular constituents of the heart; 2) release of paracrine/ autocrine factors from the PSC; 3) fusion of the PSC with the existing constituents of the heart; and 4) stimulation of endogenous repair (regeneration of PSC niches). Importantly, cardiac PSC niches contain supporting cells and these cell-cell interactions have crucial regulatory roles in PSC based therapy. These findings have important implications for heart development, bioengineering, and furthermore elucidate a broader dimension of PSC control within the niche toward cardiomyocyte phenotype.
The corneal endothelial monolayer helps maintain corneal transparency through its barrier and ionic “pump” functions. This transparency function can become compromised, resulting in a critical loss in endothelial cell density (ECD), corneal edema, bullous keratopathy, and loss of visual acuity. Although penetrating keratoplasty and various forms of endothelial keratoplasty are capable of restoring corneal clarity, they can also have complications requiring re-grafting or other treatments. With the increasing worldwide shortage of donor corneas to be used for keratoplasty, there is a greater need to find new therapies to restore corneal clarity that is lost due to endothelial dysfunction. As a result, researchers have been exploring alternative approaches that could result in the in vivo induction of transient corneal endothelial cell division or the in vitro expansion of healthy endothelial cells for corneal bioengineering as treatments to increase ECD and restore visual acuity. This review presents current information regarding the ability of human corneal endothelial cells (HCEC) to divide as a basis for the development of new therapies. Information will be presented on the positive and negative regulation of the cell cycle as background for the studies to be discussed. Results of studies exploring the proliferative capacity of HCEC will be presented and specific conditions that affect the ability of HCEC to divide will be discussed. Methods that have been tested to induce transient proliferation of HCEC will also be presented. This review will discuss the effect of donor age and endothelial topography on relative proliferative capacity of HCEC...
Chamberlain, M. Dean; Butler, Mark J.; Ciucurel, Ema C.; Fitzpatrick, Lindsay E.; Khan, Omar F.; Leung, Brendan M.; Lo, Chuen; Patel, Ritesh; Velchinskaya, Alexandra; Voice, Derek N.; Sefton, Michael V.
This protocol describes the fabrication of a type of micro-tissues called modules. The module approach generates uniform, scalable and vascularized tissues. The modules can be made of collagen as well as other gelable or crosslinkable materials. They are approximately 2 mm in length and 0.7 mm in diameter upon fabrication but shrink in size with embedded cells or when the modules are coated with endothelial cells. The modules individually are small enough that the embedded cells are within the diffusion limit of oxygen and other nutrients but modules can be packed together to form larger tissues that are perfusable. These tissues are modular in construction because different cell types can be embedded in or coated on the modules before they are packed together to form complex tissues. There are three main steps to making the modules: (1) neutralizing the collagen and embedding cells in it, (2) gelling the collagen in the tube and cutting the modules and (3) coating the modules with endothelial cells.
Tendon injuries are common clinical problems and are difficult to treat. In particular, the tendon-to-bone insertion site, once damaged, does not regenerate its complex zonal arrangement. A potential treatment for tendon injuries is to replace injured tendons with bioengineered tendons. However, the bioengineering of tendon will require a detailed understanding of the normal development of tendon, which is currently lacking. Here, we use the mouse patellar tendon as a model to describe the spatial and temporal pattern of expression of molecular markers for tendon differentiation from late fetal life to 2 weeks after birth. We found that collagen I, fibromodulin, and tenomodulin were expressed throughout the tendon, whereas tenascin-C, biglycan, and cartilage oligomeric protein were concentrated in the insertion site during this period. We also identified signaling pathways that are activated both throughout the developing tendon, for example, transforming growth factor beta and bone morphogenetic protein, and specifically in the insertion site, for example, hedgehog pathway. Using a mouse line expressing green fluorescent protein in all tenocytes, we also found that tenocyte cell proliferation occurs at highest levels during late fetal life...
Photosynthesis has recently gained considerable attention for its potential role in the development of renewable energy sources. Optimizing photosynthetic organisms for biomass or biofuel production will therefore require a systems understanding of photosynthetic processes. We reconstructed a high-quality genome-scale metabolic network for Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 that describes key photosynthetic processes in mechanistic detail. We performed an exhaustive in silico analysis of the reconstructed photosynthetic process under different light and inorganic carbon (Ci) conditions as well as under genetic perturbations. Our key results include the following. (i) We identified two main states of the photosynthetic apparatus: a Ci-limited state and a light-limited state. (ii) We discovered nine alternative electron flow pathways that assist the photosynthetic linear electron flow in optimizing the photosynthesis performance. (iii) A high degree of cooperativity between alternative pathways was found to be critical for optimal autotrophic metabolism. Although pathways with high photosynthetic yield exist for optimizing growth under suboptimal light conditions, pathways with low photosynthetic yield guarantee optimal growth under excessive light or Ci limitation. (iv) Photorespiration was found to be essential for the optimal photosynthetic process...
Histone proteins are not only important due to their vital role in cellular processes such as DNA compaction, replication and repair but also show intriguing structural properties that might be exploited for bioengineering purposes such as the development of nano-materials. Based on their biological and technological implications, it is interesting to investigate the structural properties of proteins as a function of temperature. In this work, we study the spatial response dynamics of the histone H2AX, consisting of 143 residues, by a coarse-grained bond fluctuating model for a broad range of normalized temperatures. A knowledge-based interaction matrix is used as input for the residue-residue Lennard-Jones potential.
We have developed a microfluidic device that mimics the delivery and systemic clearance of drugs to heterogeneous three-dimensional tumor tissues in vitro. Nutrients delivered by vasculature fail to reach all parts of tumors, giving rise to heterogeneous microenvironments consisting of viable, quiescent and necrotic cell types. Many cancer drugs fail to effectively penetrate and treat all types of cells because of this heterogeneity. Monolayers of cancer cells do not mimic this heterogeneity, making it difficult to test cancer drugs with a suitable in vitro model. Our microfluidic devices were fabricated out of PDMS using soft lithography. Multicellular tumor spheroids, formed by the hanging drop method, were inserted and constrained into rectangular chambers on the device and maintained with continuous medium perfusion on one side. The rectangular shape of chambers on the device created linear gradients within tissue. Fluorescent stains were used to quantify the variability in apoptosis within tissue. Tumors on the device were treated with the fluorescent chemotherapeutic drug doxorubicin, time-lapse microscopy was used to monitor its diffusion into tissue, and the effective diffusion coefficient was estimated. The hanging drop method allowed quick formation of uniform spheroids from several cancer cell lines. The device enabled growth of spheroids for up to 3 days. Cells in proximity of flowing medium were minimally apoptotic and those far from the channel were more apoptotic...
Each year, hundreds of thousands of patients undergo coronary artery bypass surgery in the United States.1 Approximately one third of these patients do not have suitable autologous donor vessels due to disease progression or previous harvest. The aim of vascular tissue engineering is to develop a suitable alternative source for these bypass grafts. In addition, engineered vascular tissue may prove valuable as living vascular models to study cardiovascular diseases. Several promising approaches to engineering blood vessels have been explored, with many recent studies focusing on development and analysis of cell-based methods.2-5 Herein, we present a method to rapidly self-assemble cells into 3D tissue rings that can be used in vitro to model vascular tissues.
Peptoids are a novel class of biomimetic, non-natural, sequence-specific heteropolymers that resist proteolysis, exhibit potent biological activity, and fold into higher order nanostructures. Structurally similar to peptides, peptoids are poly N-substituted glycines, where the side chains are attached to the nitrogen rather than the alpha-carbon. Their ease of synthesis and structural diversity allows testing of basic design principles to drive de novo design and engineering of new biologically-active and nanostructured materials.
The metabolism of fatty acids, such as arachidonic acid (AA) and linoleic acid (LA), results in the formation of oxidized bioactive lipids, including numerous stereoisomers1,2. These metabolites can be formed from free or esterified fatty acids. Many of these oxidized metabolites have biological activity and have been implicated in various diseases including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, asthma, and cancer3-7. Oxidized bioactive lipids can be formed enzymatically or by reactive oxygen species (ROS). Enzymes that metabolize fatty acids include cyclooxygenase (COX), lipoxygenase (LO), and cytochromes P450 (CYPs)1,8. Enzymatic metabolism results in enantioselective formation whereas ROS oxidation results in the racemic formation of products.
The micropipette adhesion assay was developed in 1998 to measure two-dimensional (2D) receptor-ligand binding kinetics1. The assay uses a human red blood cell (RBC) as adhesion sensor and presenting cell for one of the interacting molecules. It employs micromanipulation to bring the RBC into contact with another cell that expresses the other interacting molecule with precisely controlled area and time to enable bond formation. The adhesion event is detected as RBC elongation upon pulling the two cells apart. By controlling the density of the ligands immobilized on the RBC surface, the probability of adhesion is kept in mid-range between 0 and 1. The adhesion probability is estimated from the frequency of adhesion events in a sequence of repeated contact cycles between the two cells for a given contact time. Varying the contact time generates a binding curve. Fitting a probabilistic model for receptor-ligand reaction kinetics1 to the binding curve returns the 2D affinity and off-rate.
Teeth develop as ectodermal appendages from epithelial and mesenchymal tissues. Tooth organogenesis is regulated by an intricate network of cell–cell signaling during all steps of development. The dental hard tissues, dentin, enamel, and cementum, are formed by unique cell types whose differentiation is intimately linked with morphogenesis. During evolution the capacity for tooth replacement has been reduced in mammals, whereas teeth have acquired more complex shapes. Mammalian teeth contain stem cells but they may not provide a source for bioengineering of human teeth. Therefore it is likely that nondental cells will have to be reprogrammed for the purpose of clinical tooth regeneration. Obviously this will require understanding of the mechanisms of normal development. The signaling networks mediating the epithelial-mesenchymal interactions during morphogenesis are well characterized but the molecular signatures of the odontogenic tissues remain to be uncovered.